Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Eicosanoid


Inflammation is an important component of normal responses to infection and injury. However, chronic activation of the immune system, due to aberrant responses to normal stimuli, can lead to the establishment of a persistent inflammatory state. Such inflammatory conditions are often debilitating, and are associated with a number of important co-morbidities including cardiovascular disease. Resting non-proliferative tissues have distinctive metabolic activities and requirements, which differ considerably from those in infiltrating immune cells, which are undergoing proliferation and differentiation. Immune responses in tissues may therefore be modulated by the relative abundance of substrates in the inflamed site. In turn immune cell activity can feed back and affect metabolic behaviour of the tissues, as most clearly demonstrated in cachexia - the loss of cellular mass driven by tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) a key mediator of the inflammatory response. Here we discuss the potential for metabolomic analysis to clarify the interactions between inflammation and metabolic changes underlying many diseases. We suggest that an increased understanding of the interaction between inflammation and cellular metabolism, energy substrate use, tissue breakdown markers, the microbiome and drug metabolites, may provide novel insight into the regulation of inflammatory diseases.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Monocyte, Metabolism, Enzyme, Asthma, Infection, Eicosanoid


BACKGROUND & AIMS: The endocannabinoid and eicosanoid lipid signaling pathways have important roles in inflammatory syndromes. Monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) links these pathways, hydrolyzing the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol to generate the arachidonic acid precursor pool for prostaglandin production. We investigated whether blocking MAGL protects against inflammation and damage from hepatic ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) and other insults. METHODS: We analyzed the effects of hepatic I/R in mice given the selective MAGL inhibitor JZL184, in Mgll-/-mice, FAAH-/- mice, and in Cnr1(-/-)and Cnr2(-/-)mice, which have disruptions in the cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2 (CB(½)). Liver tissues were collected and analyzed, along with cultured hepatocytes and Kupffer cells. We measured endocannabinoids, eicosanoids, and markers of inflammation, oxidative stress, and cell death using molecular biology, biochemistry, and mass spectrometry analyses. RESULTS: Wild-type mice given JZL184 and Mgll-/- mice were protected from hepatic I/R injury by a mechanism that involved increased endocannabinoid signaling via CB(2) and reduced production of eicosanoids in the liver. JZL184 suppressed the inflammation and oxidative stress that mediate hepatic I/R injury. Hepatocytes were the major source of hepatic MAGL activity and endocannabinoid and eicosanoid production. JZL184 also protected from induction of liver injury by D-(+)-galactosamine and lipopolysaccharides or CCl(4). CONCLUSIONS: MAGL promotes hepatic injury via endocannabinoid and eicosanoid signaling; blockade of this pathway protects mice from liver injury. MAGL inhibitors might be developed to treat for conditions that expose the liver to oxidative stress and inflammatory damage.

Concepts: Inflammation, Liver, Lipid, Eicosanoid, Prostaglandin, Leukotriene, Arachidonic acid, Monoacylglycerol lipase


Although 17β-estradiol (E2) anti-inflammatory activity has been well described, very little is known about the effects of this hormone on the resolution phase of the inflammatory process. Here, we identified a previously unreported ERα-mediated effect of E2 on the inflammatory machinery. The study showed that the activation of the intracellular estrogen receptor shortens the LPS-induced pro-inflammatory phase and, by influencing the intrinsic and extrinsic programs, triggers the resolution of inflammation in RAW 264.7 cells. Through the regulation of the SOCS3 and STAT3 signaling pathways, E2 facilitates the progression of the inflammatory process toward the IL10-dependent “acquired deactivation” phenotype, which is responsible for tissue remodeling and the restoration of homeostatic conditions. The present study may provide an explanation for increased susceptibility to chronic inflammatory diseases in women after menopause, and it suggests novel anti-inflammatory treatments for such disorders.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Osteoporosis, Signal transduction, Asthma, Atherosclerosis, Anti-inflammatory, Eicosanoid


Malignant Mesothelioma (MM) is a tumor of the serous membranes linked to exposure to asbestos. A chronic inflammatory response orchestrated by mesothelial cells contributes to the development and progression of MM. The evidence that: (a) multiple signaling pathways are aberrantly activated in MM cells; (b) asbestos mediated-chronic inflammation has a key role in MM carcinogenesis; © the deregulation of the immune system might favor the development of MM; and (d) a drug might have a better efficacy when injected into a serous cavity thus bypassing biotransformation and reaching an effective dose has prompted investigations to evaluate the effects of polyphenols for the therapy and prevention of MM. Dietary polyphenols are able to inhibit cancer cell growth by targeting multiple signaling pathways, reducing inflammation, and modulating immune response. The ability of polyphenols to modulate the production of pro-inflammatory molecules by targeting signaling pathways or ROS might represent a key mechanism to prevent and/or to contrast the development of MM. In this review, we will report the current knowledge on the ability of polyphenols to modulate the immune system and production of mediators of inflammation, thus revealing an important tool in preventing and/or counteracting the growth of MM.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Cancer, Bacteria, Signal transduction, Asthma, Mesothelioma, Eicosanoid


Lipophosphoglycan (LPG) is a key virulence factor expressed on the surfaces of Leishmania promastigotes. Although LPG is known to activate macrophages, the underlying mechanisms resulting in the production of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) via signaling pathways remain unknown. Here, the inflammatory response arising from stimulation by Leishmania infantum LPG and/or its lipid and glycan motifs was evaluated with regard to PGE2 induction. Intact LPG, but not its glycan and lipid moieties, induced a range of proinflammatory responses, including PGE2 and nitric oxide (NO) release, increased lipid droplet formation, and iNOS and COX2 expression. LPG also induced ERK-½ and JNK phosphorylation in macrophages, in addition to the release of PGE2, MCP-1, IL-6, TNF-α and IL-12p70, but not IL-10. Pharmacological inhibition of ERK1/2 and PKC affected PGE2 and cytokine production. Moreover, treatment with rosiglitazone, an agonist of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPAR-γ), also modulated the release of PGE2 and other proinflammatory mediators. Finally, we determined that LPG-induced PPAR-γ signaling occurred via TLR1/2. Taken together, these results reinforce the role played by L. infantum-derived LPG in the proinflammatory response seen in Leishmania infection.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Signal transduction, Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor, Leishmania, Fever, Eicosanoid, Prostaglandin


Skeletal muscles harbor quiescent muscle-specific stem cells (MuSCs) capable of tissue regeneration throughout life. Muscle injury precipitates a complex inflammatory response in which a multiplicity of cell types, cytokines, and growth factors participate. Here we show that Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) is an inflammatory cytokine that directly targets MuSCs via the EP4 receptor, leading to MuSC expansion. An acute treatment with PGE2 suffices to robustly augment muscle regeneration by either endogenous or transplanted MuSCs. Loss of PGE2 signaling by specific genetic ablation of the EP4 receptor in MuSCs impairs regeneration, leading to decreased muscle force. Inhibition of PGE2 production through nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) administration just after injury similarly hinders regeneration and compromises muscle strength. Mechanistically, the PGE2 EP4 interaction causes MuSC expansion by triggering a cAMP/phosphoCREB pathway that activates the proliferation-inducing transcription factor, Nurr1 Our findings reveal that loss of PGE2 signaling to MuSCs during recovery from injury impedes muscle repair and strength. Through such gain- or loss-of-function experiments, we found that PGE2 signaling acts as a rheostat for muscle stem-cell function. Decreased PGE2 signaling due to NSAIDs or increased PGE2 due to exogenous delivery dictates MuSC function, which determines the outcome of regeneration. The markedly enhanced and accelerated repair of damaged muscles following intramuscular delivery of PGE2 suggests a previously unrecognized indication for this therapeutic agent.

Concepts: Developmental biology, Cellular differentiation, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, Anti-inflammatory, Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Diclofenac, Eicosanoid


Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) inhibit cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) and COX-2 enzymes. The NLRP3 inflammasome is a multi-protein complex responsible for the processing of the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-1β and is implicated in many inflammatory diseases. Here we show that several clinically approved and widely used NSAIDs of the fenamate class are effective and selective inhibitors of the NLRP3 inflammasome via inhibition of the volume-regulated anion channel in macrophages, independently of COX enzymes. Flufenamic acid and mefenamic acid are efficacious in NLRP3-dependent rodent models of inflammation in air pouch and peritoneum. We also show therapeutic effects of fenamates using a model of amyloid beta induced memory loss and a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. These data suggest that fenamate NSAIDs could be repurposed as NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitors and Alzheimer’s disease therapeutics.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Inflammation, Rheumatoid arthritis, Cyclooxygenase, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, Anti-inflammatory, Paracetamol, Eicosanoid


Echinoderms, positioned taxonomically at the base of deuterostomes, provide an important system for the study of the evolution of the immune system. However, there is little known about the cellular components and genes associated with echinoderm immunity. The 2013-2014 sea star wasting disease outbreak is an emergent, rapidly spreading disease, which has led to large population declines of asteroids in the North American Pacific. While evidence suggests that the signs of this disease, twisting arms and lesions, may be attributed to a viral infection, the host response to infection is still poorly understood. In order to examine transcriptional responses of the sea star Pycnopodia helianthoides to sea star wasting disease, we injected a viral sized fraction (0.2 μm) homogenate prepared from symptomatic P. helianthoides into apparently healthy stars. Nine days following injection, when all stars were displaying signs of the disease, specimens were sacrificed and coelomocytes were extracted for RNA-seq analyses. A number of immune genes, including those involved in Toll signaling pathways, complement cascade, melanization response, and arachidonic acid metabolism, were differentially expressed. Furthermore, genes involved in nervous system processes and tissue remodeling were also differentially expressed, pointing to transcriptional changes underlying the signs of sea star wasting disease. The genomic resources presented here not only increase understanding of host response to sea star wasting disease, but also provide greater insight into the mechanisms underlying immune function in echinoderms.

Concepts: Immune system, Infectious disease, Bacteria, Innate immune system, Infection, Eicosanoid


Injuries to the superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT) are an important cause of morbidity and mortality in equine athletes, but the healing response is poorly understood. One important drive for the healing of connective tissues is the inflammatory cascade, but the role of inflammation in tendinopathy has been contentious in the literature. This article reviews the processes involved in the healing of tendon injuries in natural disease and experimental models. The importance of inflammatory processes known to be active in tendon disease is discussed with particular focus on recent findings related specifically to the horse. Whilst inflammation is necessary for debridement after injury, persistent inflammation is thought to drive fibrosis, a perceived adverse consequence of tendon healing. Therefore the ability to resolve inflammation by the resident cell populations in tendons at an appropriate time would be crucial for successful outcome. This review summarises new evidence for the importance of resolution of inflammation after tendon injury. Given that many anti-inflammatory drugs suppress both inflammatory and resolving components of the inflammatory response, prolonged use of these drugs may be contraindicated as a therapeutic approach. We propose that these findings have profound implications not only for current treatment strategies but also for the possibility of developing novel therapeutic approaches involving modulation of the inflammatory process.

Concepts: Inflammation, Collagen, Extracellular matrix, Rheumatoid arthritis, Anti-inflammatory, Necrosis, Eicosanoid, Tendon


Prostaglandins (PG) are the product of a cascade of enzymes such as cyclooxygenases and PG synthases. Among PG, PGE2 is produced by 3 isoforms of PGE synthase (PGES) and through activation of its cognate receptors (EP1-4), this PG is involved in the pathophysiology of vascular diseases. Some anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. glucocorticoids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) interfere with its metabolism or effects. Vascular cells can initiate many of the responses associated with inflammation. In human vascular tissue, PGE2 is involved in many physiological processes, such as increasing vascular permeability, cell proliferation, cell migration and control of vascular smooth muscle tone. PGE2 has been shown to contribute to the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, abdominal aortic aneurysm but also in physiologic/adaptive processes such as angiogenesis. Understanding the roles of PGE2 and its cognate receptors in vascular diseases could help to identify diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers. In addition, from these recent studies new promising therapeutic approaches like mPGES-1 inhibition and/or EP4-antagonism should be investigated.

Concepts: Inflammation, Cyclooxygenase, Glucocorticoid, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, Anti-inflammatory, Paracetamol, Eicosanoid, Prostaglandin