APR 21, 2022 4:06 PM PDT

An Immune Cell Subset Provides New Insights Into IBD

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) are part of the innate immune system, a generalized response to pathogens. These cells are found in the linings of tissues, including the gut. New research has identified a subset of ILCs that can mature into cells that seem to play a role in inflammatory bowel disease. In IBD, the gut mucosa is chronically inflamed. IBD can cause weight loss, abdominal cramping, and pain. The few effective treatments for IBD don't help all patients, but this research may help create new therapeutic options. The findings have been reported in Science Immunology.   

Image credit: Pixabay

ILCs help maintain the proper function of tissues, including mucous production. Previous work has indicated that inflammation alters the activity of ILCs, suggesting they may be involved in IBD.

In this work, researchers obtained samples from the tonsils and gut tissues of 48 patients, including 31 IBD patients. The tissues were collected during endoscopic procedures or resection surgeries.  ILCs were then isolated from the samples and assessed in detail, both when the samples were initially collected, as well as later as they grew in culture in the lab.

The study revealed two subgroups of ILCs, which could be differentiated by the presence of a molecule called CD62L, on CD45RA+ ILCs. The researchers found that CD62L+ ILCs were similar to naive ILCs, while CD62L− ILCs were more like differentiated ILCs.

While both CD62L+ and CD62L- ILCs were able to differentiate into ILC1s, NK cells, or ILC3s, that specialization was dependent on glycolysis. In people with IBD, there were higher levels of  CD62L− ILCs that tended to differentiate into ILC3s, which generate the inflammatory molecule IL-22. Previous work has linked IL-22 to IBD.

During inflammation, ILC function changes, "and therefore ILCs represent a promising therapeutic target for conditions like inflammatory bowel disease," noted first study author Efthymia Kokkinou, a graduate student at the Karolinska Institute. "Insight into how these cells develop from immature cells into mature cells in tissue helps us understand how they influence tissue function or inflammation in mucosa and how they can be manipulated for therapeutic purposes."

The scientists are now planning to investigate whether certain undifferentiated ILCs in the gut can be used to assess the efficacy of drugs, including some that are currently used to treat Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Patients and clinicians might be able to use tests like that to identify the best treatment right away, instead of having to test out different options in the patient to find the best one.

Sources: Karolinska Institute, Science Immunology

About the Author
BS
Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on over 30 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 70 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
APR 25, 2022
Cancer
Exercise Reduces Proliferation of Colon Cancer Cells
APR 25, 2022
Exercise Reduces Proliferation of Colon Cancer Cells
Substantial evidence supports the association between exercise and reduced risk of colon cancer.  Physical act ...
APR 27, 2022
Clinical & Molecular DX
Asthma Risk Increased in Children Conceived with Infertility Treatment
APR 27, 2022
Asthma Risk Increased in Children Conceived with Infertility Treatment
Asthma is a disease characterized by difficulty breathing, and an asthma attack can bring on bouts of coughing and wheez ...
MAY 17, 2022
Cancer
Looking for an Easier Way to Scale-up Your Benchtop Cell Cultures?
MAY 17, 2022
Looking for an Easier Way to Scale-up Your Benchtop Cell Cultures?
Much has been written about scaling up cell culture for bioprocessing and other applications that require a very high de ...
MAY 09, 2022
Cancer
A Gel Implant Protects from Cancer Recurrence
MAY 09, 2022
A Gel Implant Protects from Cancer Recurrence
Following a successful course of cancer treatment, a patient may enter remission. Remission, classified as either partia ...
MAY 17, 2022
Clinical & Molecular DX
CDC Investigation into Severe Hepatitis Cases in over 100 Children: What to Know
MAY 17, 2022
CDC Investigation into Severe Hepatitis Cases in over 100 Children: What to Know
Over a hundred cases of hepatitis in children in the United States and four hundred worldwide are being investigated by ...
JUN 14, 2022
Coronavirus
Advances in Latest Coronavirus Research in the 2022 Ongoing Labroots Virtual Event Series
JUN 14, 2022
Advances in Latest Coronavirus Research in the 2022 Ongoing Labroots Virtual Event Series
Labroots hosted its 3rd annual Coronavirus Conference Virtual Event Series on May 4, 2022. The speaker roster for this f ...
Loading Comments...