All about SPM

Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA, DHA) can be converted into SPM (specialized pro-resolving mediators): resolvin Es are derived from EPA, while resolvin Ds, protectins/neuroprotectins and maresins are derived from DHA. As inflammation inhibitors, SPM have an important role in controlling and ending inflammation and pain.

Acute inflammation in response to infection or damaged tissue is characterized by heat, redness, swelling and pain. At cellular level, edema occurs and neutrophiles, monocytes and macrophages are directed to the damage site.

The pro-inflammatory prostaglandins (such as PGE2 and PGD2) and leukotrienes synthesized from arachidonic acid (AA) are important in the early phase of inflammation. The first anti-inflammatory signals follow shortly afterwards via lipoxins, which are also synthesized from AA.

If successful, the inflammation must be stopped, the damage repaired and the immune cells removed along with the cellular waste, without leaving any remnants (dead microorganisms or immune cells, cell remnants and waste substances). Remnants that are not cleared away could retrigger inflammation.
This is mediated by SPM: resolvins, protectins and maresins, synthesized from the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.

SPMs resolve the inflammation, relieve pain, regulate the immune response and provide protection. They have a key role in controlling and ending the inflammation and ensuring the return to homeostasis.

Treating inflammation with COX inhibitors and/or corticosteroids blocks COX enzymes and so also the synthesis of prostaglandin. As a consequence, the 15-LOX enzyme cannot be expressed and the resolution cannot be induced. That means, the inflammation does not subside, clean-up does not occur and homeostasis does not return. The result is a chronic (low-grade) inflammatory status.

Resolvins, protectins and maresins inhibit inflammation without suppressing the immune system. These are promising substances for a support treatment of autoimmune diseases, allergies, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and all clinical pictures that involve acute inflammation and whose resolution does not occur as expected from a physiological perspective.


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