Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Critical Illness: Anti-Inflammatory, Proresolving, or Both?Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017; 2017:5987082.OM
Prognosis and outcomes of critically ill patients are strictly related with inflammatory status. Inflammation involves a multitude of interactions between different cell types and chemical mediators. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), mainly represented by eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are able to inhibit different pathways including leukocyte chemotaxis, adhesion molecule expression and interactions, and production of inflammatory cytokines, through the action of specialized proresolving mediators (SPMs). SPMs from omega-6 fatty acids, such as lipoxins, and from omega-3 fatty acids such as resolvins, protectins, and maresins, act in reducing/resolving the inflammatory process in critical diseases, stimulating the phases of resolution of inflammation. In this light, the resolution of inflammation is nowadays considered as an active process, instead of a passive process. In critical illness, SPMs regulate the excessive posttrauma inflammatory response, protecting organs from damage. This review focuses on the role of omega-3 PUFAs as pharma nutrition agents in acute inflammatory conditions, highlighting their effects as anti-inflammatory or proresolving agents.