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Scientists Identify New Resolvin

December 12, 2006

For dentists and doctors, treating patients with periodontal disease or other chronic inflammatory diseases traditionally has meant trying to turn off the green-light biochemicals that prompt an immune response.  Missing from the therapeutic equation has been an appreciation that the immune system also produces red-light biochemical signals that naturally stop the inflammatory response.  An NIDCR grantee and his colleagues have discovered a number of these lipid, or fatty acid, stop signals in recent years and subdivided them into two broad categories, or families of chemical mediators: protectins and “resolution phase interaction products,” or resolvins. 

In the November issue of the journal Chemistry and Biology, these researchers add another novel compound to the list of resolvins.  It goes by the acronym RvE2 and belongs to the “E series” of resolvins, meaning the compound is generated from eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), the heart-protecting omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil.  This new EPA-derived mediator is produced as an intermediate in a biosynthetic pathway that yields the earlier described resolvin E1.  Interestingly, this pathway is mediated by the enzyme 5-lipoxygenase, which also catalyzes pro-inflammatory signals.  According to the authors, whether 5-lipoxygenase catalyzes a stop-or-go inflammatory signal “appears to be determined via substrate availability” during the time course of an inflammatory response.  “Hence, it might be useful to consider resolvins such as RvE2 as endogenous agonists of anti-inflammation and as potential therapeutics,” they noted.


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This page last updated: February 26, 2014