The review presents recent developments in the identification of specialized proresolving mediators (SPMs) of inflammation following supplementation with n-3 fatty acids in humans.

A number of reports have measured SPMs in human plasma after n-3 fatty acid supplementation. Although studies have shown some variability in plasma SPM levels, there is strong evidence that a number of resolvins are increased after n-3 fatty acids to concentrations that have been shown to have biological activity. SPM concentrations at the inflammatory site would be expected to be higher than that in blood. SPMs derived from docosapentaenoic acid require further investigation.

Resolution of inflammation is an active process with SPM playing a vital role in maintaining homeostasis. Studies in humans are providing evidence to suggest that this may be a relevant mechanism that can be stimulated by n-3 fatty acid supplementation. Further research is now required to determine SPM profiles in patients with different chronic conditions and to examine whether supplementation with n-3 fatty acids affects SPMs in relation to their clinical outcome.