Does the use of specialized proresolving molecules in critical care offer a more focused approach to controlling inflammation than that of fish oils?

Robert Martindale, Malissa M. Warren, Stephen A. McClave

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


Purpose of review The literature regarding the use of fish oils in the critically ill to limit the inflammatory and catabolic response have been inconsistent. The objective of this manuscript is to review a newly discovered class of specialized proresolving molecules (SPMs), which could help elucidate the discrepancies reported in the critical care literature regarding the anti-inflammatory benefits of fish oil/ω-3 fatty acids. Recent findings Although use of fish oil has traditionally been thought to reduce or limit the inflammatory process in the critical ill, a new class of endogenously produced highly active lipid mediators derived from arachidonic acid and ω-3 fatty acids (lipoxins, resolvins, protectins, and maresins) have been shown to actively enhance resolution of inflammation. These SPMs stimulate the cardinal signs of resolution of inflammation, which include the cessation of leukocytic infiltration, a countering of the effects of proinflammatory mediators, stimulation of the uptake of apoptotic neutrophils, promotion of the clearance of necrotic cellular debris, and enhancement of the host's ability to eliminate microbial invasion. Summary By actively turning off inflammation (instead of simply attenuating its natural course), SPMs have shown more consistent effects in decreasing pain and risk of sepsis, increasing epithelialization and wound healing, promoting tissue regeneration, potentiating the effects of antibiotics, and enhancing adaptive immunity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-154
Number of pages4
JournalCurrent Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016



  • critical care
  • fish oils/ω-3 fatty acids
  • inflammation control
  • specialized proresolving molecules

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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