Chitin, a polysaccharide constituent of many allergens and parasites, initiates innate type 2 lung inflammation through incompletely defined pathways. We show that inhaled chitin induced expression of three epithelial cytokines, interleukin-25 (IL-25), IL-33, and thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), which nonredundantly activated resident innate lymphoid type 2 cells (ILC2s) to express IL-5 and IL-13 necessary for accumulation of eosinophils and alternatively activated macrophages (AAMs). In the absence of all three epithelial cytokines, ILC2s normally populated the lung but failed to increase IL-5 and IL-13. Although eosinophils and AAMs were attenuated, neutrophil influx remained normal without these epithelial cytokines. Genetic ablation of ILC2s, however, enhanced IL-1β, TNFα, and IL-23 expression, increased activation of IL-17A-producing γδ T cells, and prolonged neutrophil influx. Thus, chitin elicited patterns of innate cytokines that targeted distinct populations of resident lymphoid cells, revealing divergent but interacting pathways underlying the tissue accumulation of specific types of inflammatory myeloid cells.
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