PerspectiveImmunology

Lung inflammation originating in the gut

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Science  05 Jan 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6371, pp. 36-37
DOI: 10.1126/science.aar4301

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Summary

Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) are a type of immune cell that are considered to be tissue-resident gatekeepers situated in mucosal membranes, where they contribute to both homeostasis and pathology (1). In healthy individuals, ILCs are involved in tissue repair, but ILCs have also been shown to participate in several types of inflammation, including allergy and asthma. Whereas ILCs can be found at low frequencies in the blood circulation, mucosal barriers such as the intestine and airways are enriched for ILCs (1). However, whether ILCs are in fact tissue resident in the sense that they self-renew without substantial replenishment from other organs has been a topic of debate. The mechanisms of ILC circulation are important for understanding various types of inflammatory conditions and how they can be treated. On page 114 of this issue, Huang et al. (2) demonstrate that ILC2s are not obligate tissue-resident cells because they can be recruited from the gut to the lung and other organs in response to inflammatory signaling.