Purpose of review: Recent decades have seen allergic diseases become endemic in a number of developed countries. Understanding the inflammatory processes that dictate these allergic responses is therefore important.
Recent findings: Critical to many allergic responses is the inappropriate release of the type-2 immune-regulatory cytokines: interleukin-4, interleukin-5, interleukin-9, and interleukin-13. The study of these inflammatory mediators has led directly to the development of two new asthma treatments: anti-interleukin-5 and anti-interleukin-13. Until recently, T helper 2 cells were considered to be the major cellular source of type-2 cytokines; however, a paradigm shift occurred with the discovery of a novel population, type-2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s), that can produce huge levels of type-2 cytokines and are sufficient to induce allergy in mice. This discovery raises interesting questions about how innate and adaptive type-2 immunity might interact to induce relapsing and remitting episodes of allergy in patients.
Summary: It is essential that alongside the mechanistic investigation using model organisms, the roles of ILC2s in human disease be explored. Here, we discuss how ILC2 traits, discovered in mouse models, have informed research in humans and how newly identified human ILC2 pathways might provide potential therapeutic benefits in the future.