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PLoS One. 2014 Nov 19;9(11):e113480. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0113480. eCollection 2014.

The pro-resolving lipid mediator maresin 1 (MaR1) attenuates inflammatory signaling pathways in vascular smooth muscle and endothelial cells.

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Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI) and Department of Surgery, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California.



Inflammation and its resolution are central to vascular injury and repair. Maresins comprise a new family of bioactive lipid mediators synthesized from docosahexaenoic acid, an ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid. They have been found to exert anti-inflammatory and pro-resolving responses in macrophages, neutrophils and bronchial epithelial cells and impart beneficial actions in murine models of peritonitis and colitis. We investigated the impact of maresin-1 (MaR1) on tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) induced inflammatory responses in human vascular endothelial (EC) and smooth muscle cells (VSMC).


Primary cultures of human saphenous vein EC and VSMC were employed. We tested the naturally occurring MaR1 as modulator of TNF-α effects, with examination of monocyte adhesion, oxidant stress, and intracellular inflammatory signaling pathways.


MaR1 attenuated TNF-α induced monocyte adhesion and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in both EC and VSMC, associated with down-regulated expression (cell surface) of the adhesion molecule E-selectin (in EC) and NADPH-oxidases (NOX4, NOX1, NOX2). MaR1 attenuated TNF-α induced release of pro-inflammatory mediators by EC and VSMC. MaR1 caused an attenuation of TNF-α induced NF-κB activation in both cell types associated with inhibition of I-κ Kinase (IKK) phosphorylation, IκB-α degradation and nuclear translocation of the NF- κB p65 subunit. MaR1 also caused a time-dependent increase in intracellular cyclic AMP (cAMP) in both naive and TNF-α stimulated VSMC and EC.


MaR1 has broad anti-inflammatory actions on EC and VSMC, which may be partly mediated through up-regulation of cAMP and down-regulation of the transcription factor NF-κB. The results suggest that the pro-resolving lipid mediator MaR1 exerts homeostatic actions on vascular cells that counteract pro-inflammatory signals. These findings may have direct relevance for acute and chronic states of vascular inflammation.

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