Characterisation of innate lymphoid cell populations at different sites in mice with defective T cell immunity
Dutton, EE; Camelo, A; Sleeman, M; Herbst, R; Carlesso, G; Belz, GT; Withers, DR
Wellcome Open Research
Background: Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) have now been identified within most tissues of the body and current evidence indicates that this family of cells play a fundamental role in maintaining tissue homeostasis. However, few studies have compared the ILC populations between several tissues. Methods: We sought to generate a comprehensive characterisation of the ILC populations in different tissues of C57BL/6 WT and genetically modified mice targeting costimulatory pathways, using transcription factor expression to define specific groups. Results: Consistent with studies individually describing the ILC composition in different tissues, our analysis revealed different ILC groups dominate the ILC population in different tissues. Additionally, we observed a population of IL-7Ralpha (+)Id2 (+) cells lacking expression of lineage markers but also lacking expression of GATA-3, RORgt or T-bet. This population was most evident in ear skin where it outnumbered the defined ILC groups, however, further experiments demonstrated that detection of these cells was influenced by how the tissue was digested, raising concerns as to its real nature. Since both ILC2 and ILC3 express ICOS, we then investigated the requirement for ICOS:ICOSL interactions in the homeostasis of ILC populations at these sites. Surprisingly, no significant differences were detected in the number of ILC1, ILC2 or ILC3 between WT and ICOSL (-/-) mice in any tissue, indicating that this pathway is not required for ILC homeostasis at these sites. These data were compared with CD80 (-/-)CD86 (-/-) mice given evidence of CD28 expression by some ILC and ILC crosstalk with activated T cells. Notably, the absence of CD28 ligands resulted in a significant increase in ILC2 and ILC3 numbers in the intestine. Conclusions: Together, these data provide new insight into ILC composition in different tissues in both WT and genetically modified mice where key costimulatory pathways are genetically deleted, providing a useful resource for further research into ILC biology.