Research ArticleINNATE LYMPHOID CELLS

The ChAT-acetylcholine pathway promotes group 2 innate lymphoid cell responses and anti-helminth immunity

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Science Immunology  05 Mar 2021:
Vol. 6, Issue 57, eabe3218
DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.abe3218

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Cholinergic ILC2s support helminth clearance

The activity of group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s) is modulated by the action of neuropeptides and small-molecule neurotransmitters. To investigate whether ILC2s are a nonneuronal source of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh) that could influence potential neuro-immune cross-talk, Chu et al. used a green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter mouse to analyze ILC2 expression of the ACh-synthesizing enzyme choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) following infection with helminth parasites or exposure to allergens or proinflammatory cytokines. ILC2 expression of the ChAT-GFP reporter was strongly induced in vivo after helminth infection and after exposure to Alternaria or injection of the cytokines IL-33 and IL-25. ACh stimulation of ILC2s increased their production of type 2 cytokines and enhanced helminth expulsion from the small intestine. The cholinergic potential of ILC2s revealed in this study provides further evidence of the complex interplay between the nervous system and innate lymphocytes.

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