The potential of resolvins in the prevention and treatment of periodontitis


Inflammation is the manifestation of the effects of diverse mechanisms that start up in response to an injury, with the objective to restore the normal tissue structure and function. When some of these mechanisms exceed their actions in time, inflammation does not end (although it continues in a less obvious manner and then receives the name of chronic inflammation) and the results are harmful to tissue structure and function. There are molecules that regulate the inflammatory process and lipid mediators are among the most important: human and animal cells convert arachidonic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, into inflammatory (such as prostaglandins and leukotrienes) or pro-resolution mediators (such as lipoxins); and DHA and EPA, both omega-3 fatty acids, into resolvins, protectins and maresins, which are pro-resolution mediators. Note that we talk about “pro-resolution mediators” instead of “anti-inflammatory mediators”; this is because their actions aim to solve inflammation (allowing tissue repair), not only to stop it. Resolvins, for example, enhance and restore tissue integrity, since they possess both anti-inflammatory and pro-resolution properties.

Periodontitis is a chronic inflammatory condition that results in destruction of the tissues that surround and support the teeth (bone and connective tissue). This occurs because of a process called bone resorption, in which osteoclasts, a type of bone cell, break down bone tissue and release its minerals, and this produces a transfer of calcium from bone tissue to the blood. Periodontitis does not affect only the dental health, it is also linked to overall health (for example, it is related to heart attack and dementia); it seems that oral bacteria can escape into the bloodstream and injure major organs, but the reason of the association is not fully understood.

In studies with animals, it has been observed that resolvins inhibit osteoclast growth and bone resorption, protecting against tissue and bone loss associated with periodontitis. These studies have revealed the potential of using resolvins for prevention and treatment of periodontal disease. And this has even greater importance given the association between periodontitis and overall health.


Keinan D, Leigh NJ, Nelson JW, De Oleo L, Baker OJ. Understanding resolvin signaling pathways to improve oral health. Int J Mol Sci. 2013;14(3):5501-18.

Dangers of plaque & gingivitis to your health [Internet]. WebMed. 


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