Unresolved inflammation is central to the pathophysiology of commonly occurring vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, aneurysm, and deep vein thrombosis — conditions that are responsible for considerable morbidity and mortality. Surgical or catheter-based procedures performed on affected blood vessels induce acute-on-chronic inflammatory responses. The resolution of vascular inflammation is an important driver of vessel wall remodeling and functional recovery in these clinical settings. Specialized pro-resolving lipid mediators (SPMs) derived from omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids orchestrate key cellular processes driving resolution and a return to homeostasis. The identification of their potent effects in classic animal models of sterile inflammation triggered interest in their vascular properties. Recent studies have demonstrated that SPMs are locally synthesized in vascular tissues, have direct effects on vascular cells and their interactions with leukocytes, and play a protective role in the injury response. Early translational work has established the potential for SPMs as vascular therapeutics, and as candidate biomarkers in vascular disease. Further investigations are needed to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms of resolution in the vasculature, to improve tools for clinical measurement, and to better define the potential for “resolution therapeutics” in vascular patients.
Michael S. Conte, Tejal A. Desai, Bian Wu, Melinda Schaller, Evan Werlin