Infection and injury induce self-limited inflammatory responses that mount a defense against pathogens and initiate activities that expedite recovery. However, the benefits of inflammation recede when these responses fail to resolve in a timely manner. This series features a family of specialized lipid mediators that regulate the resolution of inflammation. The reviews, curated by Charles Serhan, highlight the wide-ranging involvement of these bioactive lipids in health and disease. Work by Serhan and others has revealed that the resolvin, protectin, and maresin families of pro-resolving mediators act as immunoresolvents and represent promising alternatives to immunosuppressant and anti-inflammatory therapies. Other lipid mediators, including leukotrienes, ceramides, and sphingolipids have roles in cancer, cardiovascular disease, and aging. Our evolving understanding of lipid mediators in regulating inflammation and disease pathogenesis presents promising opportunities for new therapeutic strategies.
Countless times each day, the acute inflammatory response protects us from invading microbes, injuries, and insults from within, as in surgery-induced tissue injury. These challenges go unnoticed because they are self-limited and naturally resolve without progressing to chronic inflammation. Peripheral blood markers of inflammation are present in many common diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease, and cancer. While acute inflammation is protective, excessive swarming of neutrophils amplifies collateral tissue damage and inflammation. Hence, understanding the mechanisms that control the resolution of acute inflammation provides insight into preventing and treating inflammatory diseases in multiple organs. This Review focuses on the resolution phase of inflammation with identification of specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPMs) that involve three separate biosynthetic and potent mediator families, which are defined using the first quantitative resolution indices to score this vital process. These are the resolvins, protectins, and maresins: bioactive metabolomes that each stimulate self-limited innate responses, enhance innate microbial killing and clearance, and are organ-protective. We briefly address biosynthesis of SPMs and their activation of endogenous resolution programs as terrain for new therapeutic approaches that are not, by definition, immunosuppressive, but rather new immunoresolvent therapies.
Charles N. Serhan, Bruce D. Levy
Phospholipids comprise a large body of lipids that define cells and organelles by forming membrane structures. Importantly, their complex metabolism represents a highly controlled cellular signaling network that is essential for mounting an effective innate immune response. Phospholipids in innate cells are subject to dynamic regulation by enzymes, whose activities are highly responsive to activation status. Along with their metabolic products, they regulate multiple aspects of innate immune cell biology, including shape change, aggregation, blood clotting, and degranulation. Phospholipid hydrolysis provides substrates for cell-cell communication, enables regulation of hemostasis, immunity, thrombosis, and vascular inflammation, and is centrally important in cardiovascular disease and associated comorbidities. Phospholipids themselves are also recognized by innate-like T cells, which are considered essential for recognition of infection or cancer, as well as self-antigens. This Review describes the major phospholipid metabolic pathways present in innate immune cells and summarizes the formation and metabolism of phospholipids as well as their emerging roles in cell biology and disease.
Valerie B. O’Donnell, Jamie Rossjohn, Michael J.O. Wakelam
Leukotrienes are powerful immune-regulating lipid mediators with established pathogenic roles in inflammatory allergic diseases of the respiratory tract — in particular, asthma and hay fever. More recent work indicates that these lipids also contribute to low-grade inflammation, a hallmark of cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, and metabolic diseases as well as cancer. Biosynthesis of leukotrienes involves oxidative metabolism of arachidonic acid and proceeds via a set of soluble and membrane enzymes that are primarily expressed by cells of myeloid origin. In activated immune cells, these enzymes assemble at the endoplasmic and perinuclear membrane, constituting a biosynthetic complex. This Review describes recent advances in our understanding of the components of the leukotriene-synthesizing enzyme machinery, emerging opportunities for pharmacological intervention, and the development of new medicines exploiting both antiinflammatory and pro-resolving mechanisms.
Jesper Z. Haeggström
Leukotrienes, a class of arachidonic acid–derived bioactive molecules, are known as mediators of allergic and inflammatory reactions and considered to be important drug targets. Although an inhibitor of leukotriene biosynthesis and antagonists of the cysteinyl leukotriene receptor are clinically used for bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis, these medications were developed before the molecular identification of leukotriene receptors. Numerous studies using cloned leukotriene receptors and genetically engineered mice have unveiled new pathophysiological roles for leukotrienes. This Review covers the recent findings on leukotriene receptors to revisit them as new drug targets.
Takehiko Yokomizo, Motonao Nakamura, Takao Shimizu
Aging is defined as the progressive deterioration of physiological function with age. Incidence of many pathologies increases with age, including neurological and cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Aging tissues become less adaptable and renewable, and cells undergo senescence, a process by which they “irreversibly” stop dividing. Senescence has been shown to serve as a tumor suppression mechanism with clear desirable effects. However, senescence also has deleterious consequences, especially for cardiovascular, metabolic, and immune systems. Sphingolipids are a major class of lipids that regulate cell biology, owing to their structural and bioactive properties and diversity. Their involvement in the regulation of aging and senescence has been demonstrated and studied in multiple organisms and cell types, especially that of ceramide and sphingosine-1-phosphate; ceramide induces cellular senescence and sphingosine-1–phosphate delays it. These discoveries could be very useful in the future to understand aging mechanisms and improve therapeutic interventions.
Magali Trayssac, Yusuf A. Hannun, Lina M. Obeid
Non-resolving inflammation drives the development of clinically dangerous atherosclerotic lesions by promoting sustained plaque inflammation, large necrotic cores, thin fibrous caps, and thrombosis. Resolution of inflammation is not merely a passive return to homeostasis, but rather an active process mediated by specific molecules, including fatty acid–derived specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPMs). In advanced atherosclerosis, there is an imbalance between levels of SPMs and proinflammatory lipid mediators, which results in sustained leukocyte influx into lesions, inflammatory macrophage polarization, and impaired efferocytosis. In animal models of advanced atherosclerosis, restoration of SPMs limits plaque progression by suppressing inflammation, enhancing efferocytosis, and promoting an increase in collagen cap thickness. This Review discusses the roles of non-resolving inflammation in atherosclerosis and highlights the unique therapeutic potential of SPMs in blocking the progression of clinically dangerous plaques.
Canan Kasikara, Amanda C. Doran, Bishuang Cai, Ira Tabas
Chronic inflammation is an underlying feature of many diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and multiple sclerosis. There is an increasing appreciation of the dysregulation of adaptive immunity in chronic inflammatory and allergic diseases. The discovery of specialized pro-resolving lipid mediators (SPMs) that actively promote the resolution of inflammation has opened new avenues for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases. Much work has been done focusing on the impact of SPMs on innate immune cells. However, much less is known about the influence of SPMs on the development of antigen-specific adaptive immune responses. This Review highlights the important breakthroughs concerning the effects of SPMs on the key cell types involved in the development of adaptive immunity, namely dendritic cells, T cells, and B cells.
Parker F. Duffney, Megan L. Falsetta, Ashley R. Rackow, Thomas H. Thatcher, Richard P. Phipps, Patricia J. Sime
Chronic inflammation is a risk factor for gastrointestinal cancer and other diseases. Most studies have focused on cytokines and chemokines as mediators connecting chronic inflammation to cancer, whereas the involvement of lipid mediators, including prostanoids, has not been extensively investigated. Prostanoids are among the earliest signaling molecules released in response to inflammation. Multiple lines of evidence suggest that prostanoids are involved in gastrointestinal cancer. In this Review, we discuss how prostanoids impact gastrointestinal cancer development. In particular, we highlight recent advances in our understanding of how prostaglandin E2 induces the immunosuppressive microenvironment in gastrointestinal cancers.
Dingzhi Wang, Raymond N. DuBois
Unresolved inflammation is central to the pathophysiology of commonly occurring vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, aneurysm, and deep vein thrombosis — conditions that are responsible for considerable morbidity and mortality. Surgical or catheter-based procedures performed on affected blood vessels induce acute-on-chronic inflammatory responses. The resolution of vascular inflammation is an important driver of vessel wall remodeling and functional recovery in these clinical settings. Specialized pro-resolving lipid mediators (SPMs) derived from omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids orchestrate key cellular processes driving resolution and a return to homeostasis. The identification of their potent effects in classic animal models of sterile inflammation triggered interest in their vascular properties. Recent studies have demonstrated that SPMs are locally synthesized in vascular tissues, have direct effects on vascular cells and their interactions with leukocytes, and play a protective role in the injury response. Early translational work has established the potential for SPMs as vascular therapeutics, and as candidate biomarkers in vascular disease. Further investigations are needed to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms of resolution in the vasculature, to improve tools for clinical measurement, and to better define the potential for “resolution therapeutics” in vascular patients.
Michael S. Conte, Tejal A. Desai, Bian Wu, Melinda Schaller, Evan Werlin