Impaired Local Production of Proresolving Lipid Mediators in Obesity and 17-HDHA as a Potential Treatment for Obesity-Associated Inflammation

  1. Thomas M. Stulnig1,2
  1. 1Clinical Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Medicine III, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
  2. 2Christian Doppler-Laboratory for Cardio-Metabolic Immunotherapy, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
  3. 3pharm-analyt Labor GmbH, Baden, Austria
  4. 4Department of Molecular Pathology and Innovative Therapies, University of Ancona (Politecnica delle Marche), Ancona, Italy;
  5. 5Flanders Institute for Biotechnology and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  6. 6The Adipose Organ Laboratory, IRCCS San Raffele Pisana, Rome, Italy
  7. 7Center for Experimental Therapeutics and Reperfusion Injury, Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  1. Corresponding author: Thomas M. Stulnig, thomas.stulnig{at}


Obesity-induced chronic low-grade inflammation originates from adipose tissue and is crucial for obesity-driven metabolic deterioration, including insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Chronic inflammation may be a consequence of a failure to actively resolve inflammation and could result from a lack of local specialized proresolving lipid mediators (SPMs), such as resolvins and protectins, which derive from the n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). We assessed obesity-induced changes of n-3–derived SPMs in adipose tissue and the effects of dietary EPA/DHA thereon. Moreover, we treated obese mice with SPM precursors and investigated the effects on inflammation and metabolic dysregulation. Obesity significantly decreased DHA-derived 17-hydroxydocosahexaenoic acid (17-HDHA, resolvin D1 precursor) and protectin D1 (PD1) levels in murine adipose tissue. Dietary EPA/DHA treatment restored endogenous biosynthesis of n-3–derived lipid mediators in obesity while attenuating adipose tissue inflammation and improving insulin sensitivity. Notably, 17-HDHA treatment reduced adipose tissue expression of inflammatory cytokines, increased adiponectin expression, and improved glucose tolerance parallel to insulin sensitivity in obese mice. These findings indicate that impaired biosynthesis of certain SPM and SPM precursors, including 17-HDHA and PD1, contributes to adipose tissue inflammation in obesity and suggest 17-HDHA as a novel treatment option for obesity-associated complications.


  • Received June 20, 2012.
  • Accepted January 16, 2013.

Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. See for details.

| Table of Contents

This Article

  1. Diabetes vol. 62 no. 6 1945-1956
  1. Supplementary Data
  2. All Versions of this Article:
    1. db12-0828v1
    2. 62/6/1945 most recent