New Advances in Targeting the Resolution of Inflammation: Implications for Specialized Pro-Resolving Mediator GPCR Drug Discovery

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Chronic inflammation is a component of numerous diseases including autoimmune, metabolic, neurodegenerative, and cancer. The discovery and characterization of specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPMs) critical to the resolution of inflammation, and their cognate G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) has led to a significant increase in the understanding of this physiological process. Approximately 20 ligands, including lipoxins, resolvins, maresins, and protectins, and 6 receptors (FPR2/ALX, GPR32, GPR18, chemerin1, BLT1, and GPR37) have been identified highlighting the complex and multilayered nature of resolution. Therapeutic efforts in targeting these receptors have proved challenging, with very few ligands apparently progressing through to preclinical or clinical development. To date, some knowledge gaps remain in the understanding of how the activation of these receptors, and their downstream signaling, results in efficient resolution via apoptosis, phagocytosis, and efferocytosis of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (mainly neutrophils) and macrophages. SPMs bind and activate multiple receptors (ligand poly-pharmacology), while most receptors are activated by multiple ligands (receptor pleiotropy). In addition, allosteric binding sites have been identified signifying the capacity of more than one ligand to bind simultaneously. These fundamental characteristics of SPM receptors enable alternative targeting strategies to be considered, including biased signaling and allosteric modulation. This review describes those ligands and receptors involved in the resolution of inflammation, and highlights the most recent clinical trial results. Furthermore, we describe alternative mechanisms by which these SPM receptors could be targeted, paving the way for the identification of new therapeutics, perhaps with greater efficacy and fidelity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-106
Number of pages19
JournalACS Pharmacology & Translational Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2020

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