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Front Immunol. 2012 Apr 17;3:81. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2012.00081. eCollection 2012.

Functional Metabolomics Reveals Novel Active Products in the DHA Metabolome.

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  • 1Center for Experimental Therapeutics and Reperfusion Injury, Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School Boston, MA, USA.


Endogenous mechanisms for successful resolution of an acute inflammatory response and the local return to homeostasis are of interest because excessive inflammation underlies many human diseases. In this review, we provide an update and overview of functional metabolomics that identified a new bioactive metabolome of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Systematic studies revealed that DHA was converted to DHEA-derived novel bioactive products as well as aspirin-triggered forms of protectins (AT-PD1). The new oxygenated DHEA-derived products blocked PMN chemotaxis, reduced P-selectin expression and platelet-leukocyte adhesion, and showed organ protection in ischemia/reperfusion injury. These products activated cannabinoid receptor (CB2 receptor) and not CB1 receptors. The AT-PD1 reduced neutrophil (PMN) recruitment in murine peritonitis. With human cells, AT-PD1 decreased transendothelial PMN migration as well as enhanced efferocytosis of apoptotic human PMN by macrophages. The recent findings reviewed here indicate that DHEA oxidative metabolism and aspirin-triggered conversion of DHA produce potent novel molecules with anti-inflammatory and organ-protective properties, opening the DHA metabolome functional roles.


DHEA; aspirin; neutrophil; protectins; resolvins; specialized pro-resolving mediator

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