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Nat Immunol. 2011 Jan;12(1):21-7. doi: 10.1038/ni.1962. Epub 2010 Nov 28.

The expanding family of innate lymphoid cells: regulators and effectors of immunity and tissue remodeling.

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Tytgat Institute for Liver and Intestinal Research, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Research has identified what can be considered a family of innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) that includes not only natural killer (NK) cells and lymphoid tissue-inducer (LTi) cells but also cells that produce interleukin 5 (IL-5), IL-13, IL-17 and/or IL-22. These ILC subsets are developmentally related, requiring expression of the transcriptional repressor Id2 and cytokine signals through the common γ-chain of the IL-2 receptor. The functional differentiation of ILC subsets is orchestrated by distinct transcription factors. Analogous to helper T cell subsets, these evolutionarily conserved yet distinct ILCs seem to have important roles in protective immunity, and their dysregulation can promote immune pathology.

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