Immune-regulation and -functions of eicosanoid lipid mediators

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Abstract

Bioactive lipids regulate most physiological processes, from digestion to blood flow and from hemostasis to labor. Lipid mediators are also involved in multiple pathologies including cancer, autoimmunity or asthma. The pathological roles of lipid mediators are based on their intricate involvement in the immune system, which comprises source and target cells of these mediators. Based on their biosynthetic origin, bioactive lipids can be grouped into different classes [e.g. sphingolipids, formed from sphingosine or eicosanoids, formed from arachidonic acid (AA)]. Owing to the complexity of different mediator classes and the prominent immunological roles of eicosanoids, this review will focus solely on the immune-regulation of eicosanoids. Eicosanoids do not only control key immune responses (e.g. chemotaxis, antigen presentation, phagocytosis), but they are also subject to reciprocal control by the immune system. Particularly, key immunoregulatory cytokines such as IL-4 and IFN-γ shape the cellular eicosanoid profile, thus providing efficient feedback regulation between cytokine and eicosanoid networks. For the purpose of this review, I will first provide a short overview of the most important immunological functions of eicosanoids with a focus on prostaglandins (PGs) and leukotrienes (LTs). Second, I will summarize the current knowledge on immunological factors that regulate eicosanoid production during infection and inflammation.

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