Allergen-Experienced Group 2 Innate Lymphoid Cells Acquire Memory-like Properties and Enhance Allergic Lung Inflammation

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Abstract

Group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s) in the lung are stimulated by inhaled allergens. ILC2s do not directly recognize allergens but they are stimulated by cytokines including interleukin (IL)-33 released by damaged epithelium. In response to allergens, lung ILC2s produce T helper 2 cell type cytokines inducing T cell-independent allergic lung inflammation. Here we examined the fate of lung ILC2s upon allergen challenges. ILC2s proliferated and secreted cytokines upon initial stimulation with allergen or IL-33, and this phase was followed by a contraction phase as cytokine production ceased. Some ILC2s persisted long after the resolution of the inflammation as allergen-experienced ILC2s and responded to unrelated allergens more potently than naive ILC2s, mediating severe allergic inflammation. The allergen-experienced ILC2s exhibited a gene expression profile similar to that of memory T cells. The memory-like properties of allergen-experienced ILC2s may explain why asthma patients are often sensitized to multiple allergens.

Group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s) in the lung are stimulated by inhaled allergens, producing cytokines that contribute to allergic lung inflammation. Takei and colleagues find that allergen-experienced ILC2s respond to unrelated allergens more potently than naive ILC2s and exhibit memory-like properties that may explain why asthma patients are often sensitized to multiple allergens.

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