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Human type 1 innate lymphoid cells accumulate in inflamed mucosal tissues.


Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) are effectors of innate immunity and regulators of tissue modeling. Recently identified ILC populations have a cytokine expression pattern that resembles that of the helper T cell subsets T(H)2, T(H)17 and T(H)22. Here we describe a distinct ILC subset similar to T(H)1 cells, which we call 'ILC1'. ILC1 cells expressed the transcription factor T-bet and responded to interleukin 12 (IL-12) by producing interferon-γ (IFN-γ). ILC1 cells were distinct from natural killer (NK) cells as they lacked perforin, granzyme B and the NK cell markers CD56, CD16 and CD94, and could develop from RORγt(+) ILC3 under the influence of IL-12. The frequency of the ILC1 subset was much higher in inflamed intestine of people with Crohn's disease, which indicated a role for these IFN-γ-producing ILC1 cells in the pathogenesis of gut mucosal inflammation.