Infectious Disease

Innate lymphoid cells to the rescue

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Science  31 Jul 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6247, pp. 491
DOI: 10.1126/science.349.6247.491-a

Innate lymphoid cells help control damaging Clostridium difficile infection

PHOTO: DR. KARI LOUNATMAA/SCIENCE SOURCE

Most people enter the hospital with the hope of getting better, but recent increases in hospital-acquired infections have made hospitals deadly in their own right. For instance, deaths caused by the enteric bacterium Clostridium difficile increased by 400% in the last decade. C. difficile is an opportunistic pathogen that takes advantage of disruptions in the microbiota caused by antibiotic treatment. Abt et al. provide new insight into how the host defends itself against this unwelcome intruder. Studying C. difficile–infected mice, the authors found that the mice required innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) to survive the infection. ILCs did not substantially contribute to reducing pathogen burden but instead appeared to limit pathology and systemic dissemination.

Cell Host Microbe 18, 27 (2015).

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