Inflammation is a complex response of the body to exogenous and endogenous insults. Chronic and systemic diseases are attributed to uncontrolled inflammation. Molecules involved in the initiation of inflammation are very well studied while pathways regulating its resolution are insufficiently investigated. Approaches to down-modulate mediators relevant for the onset and duration of inflammation are successful in some chronic diseases, while all of them have failed in sepsis patients. Inflammation and immune suppression characterize sepsis, indicating that anti-inflammatory strategies alone are inappropriate for its therapy. Heme oxygenase 1 is a sensitive marker for oxidative stress and is upregulated in inflammation. Carbon monoxide, which is produced by this enzyme, initiates multiple anti-inflammatory and pro-resolving activities with higher production of omega-3 fatty acid-derived lipid metabolites being one of its protective actions. Pro-resolving lipids named maresins, resolvins and protectins originate from the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid while lipoxins are derived from arachidonic acid. These endogenously produced lipids do not simply limit inflammation but actively contribute to its resolution, and thus provide an opportunity to combat chronic inflammatory diseases and eventually sepsis.
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