Obesity, diabetes mellitus, hypertension and cardiovascular disease are risk factors for chronic kidney disease (CKD) and kidney failure. Chronic, low-grade inflammation is recognized as a major pathogenic mechanism that underlies the association between CKD and obesity, impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance and diabetes, through interaction between resident and/or circulating immune cells with parenchymal cells. Thus, considerable interest exists in approaches that target inflammation as a strategy to manage CKD. The initial phase of the inflammatory response to injury or metabolic dysfunction reflects the release of pro-inflammatory mediators including peptides, lipids and cytokines, and the recruitment of leukocytes. In self-limiting inflammation, the evolving inflammatory response is coupled to distinct processes that promote the resolution of inflammation and restore homeostasis. The discovery of endogenously generated lipid mediators — specialized pro-resolving lipid mediators and branched fatty acid esters of hydroxy fatty acids — which promote the resolution of inflammation and attenuate the microvascular and macrovascular complications of obesity and diabetes mellitus highlights novel opportunities for potential therapeutic intervention through the targeting of pro-resolution, rather than anti-inflammatory pathways.