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Volume 10, Pages 832-856
Review Article

Resolution of Adipose Tissue Inflammation

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Hospital Clínic, IDIBAPS, CIBEK, and CIBERehd, University of Barcelona, Spain

Received 22 December 2009; Revised 30 March 2010; Accepted 6 April 2010

Academic Editor: Charles N. Serhan

Copyright © 2010 Ana González-Périz and Joan Clària.


The presence of the so-called “low-grade” inflammatory state is recognized as a critical event in adipose tissue dysfunction in obesity. This chronic “low-grade” inflammation in white adipose tissue is powerfully augmented through the infiltration of macrophages, which, together with adipocytes, perpetuate a vicious cycle of macrophage recruitment and secretion of free fatty acids and deleterious adipokines that predispose the development of obesity-related comorbidities, such as insulin resistance and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. In the last decade, many factors have been identified that contribute to mounting uncontrolled inflammation in obese adipose tissue. Among them, bioactive lipid mediators derived from the cyclooxygenase and 5-lipoxygenase pathways, which convert the ω-6-polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) arachidonic acid into potent proinflammatory eicosanoids (i.e., prostaglandins [PGs] and leukotrienes), have emerged. Interestingly, the same lipid mediators that initially trigger the inflammatory response also signal the termination of inflammation by stimulating the biosynthesis of anti-inflammatory and proresolving lipid autacoids. This review discusses the current status, characteristics, and progress in this class of “stop signals”, including the lipoxins, which were the first identified ω-6 PUFA–derived lipid mediators with potent anti-inflammatory properties; the recently described ω-3 PUFA–derived lipid mediators resolvins and protectins; and the cyclopentenone PGs of the D series. Special emphasis is given to the participation of these bioactive lipid autacoids in the resolution of adipose tissue inflammation and in preventing the development of obesity-related complications.