Endogenous pain-inhibitory substances have rarely been found. A group of powerful pain suppressor molecules that are endogenously generated are now emerging: resolvins and related compounds including neuroprotectins and maresins. These molecules began to be unveiled in a series of inflammation studies more than a decade ago, rapidly shifting the paradigm that explains the mechanism for the inflammatory phase switch. The resolution phase was considered a passive process as proinflammatory mediators disappeared; it is now understood to be actively drawn by the actions of resolvins. Surprisingly, these substances potently affect the pain state. Although this research area is not fully matured, consistently beneficial outcomes have been observed in a various in vivo and in vitro pain models. Furthermore, multiple hypotheses on the neuronal and molecular mechanisms for alleviating pain are being tested, deriving inspiration from existing inflammation and pain studies. This paper serves as a brief summary of the proresolving roles of resolvins and related lipid mediators in inflammation and also as a review for accumulated information of their painkilling actions. This also includes potential receptor-mediated mechanisms and discusses future scientific perspectives. Further diverse approaches will help to construct a hidden axis of natural protection principles and establish proofs of concept for pain relief.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)