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J Immunol. 2011 Nov 15;187(10):5408-18. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1100225. Epub 2011 Oct 17.

Resolvin D1 and its precursor docosahexaenoic acid promote resolution of adipose tissue inflammation by eliciting macrophage polarization toward an M2-like phenotype.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Hospital Clinic, Center Esther Koplowitz, August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute, 08036 Barcelona, Spain.


We recently demonstrated that ω-3-polyunsaturated fatty acids ameliorate obesity-induced adipose tissue inflammation and insulin resistance. In this study, we report novel mechanisms underlying ω-3-polyunsaturated fatty acid actions on adipose tissue, adipocytes, and stromal vascular cells (SVC). Inflamed adipose tissue from high-fat diet-induced obese mice showed increased F4/80 and CD11b double-positive macrophage staining and elevated IL-6 and MCP-1 levels. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 4 μg/g) did not change the total number of macrophages but significantly reduced the percentage of high CD11b/high F4/80-expressing cells in parallel with the emergence of low-expressing CD11b/F4/80 macrophages in the adipose tissue. This effect was associated with downregulation of proinflammatory adipokines in parallel with increased expression of IL-10, CD206, arginase 1, resistin-like molecule α, and chitinase-3 like protein, indicating a phenotypic switch in macrophage polarization toward an M2-like phenotype. This shift was confined to the SVC fraction, in which secretion of Th1 cytokines (IL-6, MCP-1, and TNF-α) was blocked by DHA. Notably, resolvin D1, an anti-inflammatory and proresolving mediator biosynthesized from DHA, markedly attenuated IFN-γ/LPS-induced Th1 cytokines while upregulating arginase 1 expression in a concentration-dependent manner. Resolvin D1 also stimulated nonphlogistic phagocytosis in adipose SVC macrophages by increasing both the number of macrophages containing ingested particles and the number of phagocytosed particles and by reducing macrophage reactive oxygen species production. No changes in adipocyte area and the phosphorylation of hormone-sensitive lipase, a rate-limiting enzyme regulating adipocyte lipolysis, were observed. These findings illustrate novel mechanisms through which resolvin D1 and its precursor DHA confer anti-inflammatory and proresolving actions in inflamed adipose tissue.

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