Human innate lymphoid cells

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Abstract

Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) are increasingly acknowledged as important mediators of immune homeostasis and pathology. ILCs act as early orchestrators of immunity, responding to epithelium-derived signals by expressing an array of cytokines and cell-surface receptors, which shape subsequent immune responses. As such, ILCs make up interesting therapeutic targets for several diseases. In patients with allergy and asthma, group 2 innate lymphoid cells produce high amounts of IL-5 and IL-13, thereby contributing to type 2–mediated inflammation. Group 3 innate lymphoid cells are implicated in intestinal homeostasis and psoriasis pathology through abundant IL-22 production, whereas group 1 innate lymphoid cells are accumulated in chronic inflammation of the gut (inflammatory bowel disease) and lung (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), where they contribute to IFN-γ–mediated inflammation. Although the ontogeny of mouse ILCs is slowly unraveling, the development of human ILCs is far from understood. In addition, the growing complexity of the human ILC family in terms of previously unrecognized functional heterogeneity and plasticity has generated confusion within the field. Here we provide an updated view on the function and plasticity of human ILCs in tissue homeostasis and disease.

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