Adipose tissue has a dynamic immune system that adapts to changes in diet and maintains homeostatic tissue remodeling. Adipose type 1 innate lymphoid cells (AT1-ILCs) promote pro-inflammatory macrophages in obesity, but little is known about their functions at steady state. Here we found that human and murine adipose tissue harbor heterogeneous populations of AT1-ILCs. Experiments using parabiotic mice fed a high-fat diet (HFD) showed differential trafficking of AT1-ILCs, particularly in response to short- and long-term HFD and diet restriction. At steady state, AT1-ILCs displayed cytotoxic activity toward adipose tissue macrophages (ATMs). Depletion of AT1-ILCs and perforin deficiency resulted in alterations in the ratio of inflammatory to anti-inflammatory ATMs, and adoptive transfer of AT1-ILCs exacerbated metabolic disorder. Diet-induced obesity impaired AT1-ILC killing ability. Our findings reveal a role for AT1-ILCs in regulating ATM homeostasis through cytotoxicity and suggest that this function is relevant in both homeostasis and metabolic disease.
Boulenouar et al. define different subsets of type 1 innate lymphoid cells (AT1-ILCs) in human and murine adipose tissues and show that at steady state, AT1-ILCs kill adipose tissue macrophages (ATMs). In obesity, cytotoxicity is impaired. Interference with AT1-ILC cytotoxicity impacted ATM homeostasis and systemic metabolism, pointing to its importance in homeostasis and disease.