Resolvins are compounds that are made by the human body from the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). They are produced by the COX-2 pathway especially in the presence of aspirin. Experimental evidence indicates that resolvins reduce cellular inflammation by inhibiting the production and transportation of inflammatory cells and chemicals to the sites of inflammation.
Other biological actions have been reported, with therapeutical potential such as a reduction in inflammatory pain.
The EPA-derived resolvins are nonclassic eicosanoids.
A translational study from 2015 questions the notion that resolvins and other members of this family (called specialized pro-resolving mediators, SPM) are indeed formed in the human body from omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. This study failed to detect a consistent signal of resolvin formation in urine or plasma of healthy volunteers who had taken fish oil. This study also found no alteration in the formation of resolvins during the resolution of inflammation which was induced by bacterial lipopolysaccharide. By contrast, formation of a series of established enzymatic and nonenzymatic oxidation products formed from omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids could readily be demonstrated in vivo. On this basis, the study authors conclude that their study fails to provide evidence consistent with the hypothesis that resolvins mediate an anti-inflammatory action of fish oil. Further information can be found in a commentary accompanying this translational work.
It is deemed important to establish the production and presence of resolvins, protectins and maresins (SPM) given their potent protective actions in humans. In this regard, using rigorous and validated mass spectrometry based methods many human tissues and cell types have been shown to produce SPM. For example, human white blood cells such as macrophages. Human serum, human lymph nodes and human spleen. SPM are also documented in human urine, human placenta, kidney disease  and importantly in milk from lactating mothers. These are just some examples documenting SPM in human tissues that are published in rigorous peer reviewed journals. They provide critical steps in human translation by elucidating potential important roles and functions of the pro-resolving mediators such as the resolvins and SPM in human health and disease.
Expert investigators in this field of resolution biology and physiology are now able to simultaneoulsy identify and measure both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory-pro-resolving mediators such as the SPM in human tissues. Thus in the near future it is very likely that lipid mediator and SPM signature profiles will be useful in both precision and personalized medicine.
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