Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) were first described as playing important roles in the development of lymphoid tissues and more recently in the initiation of inflammation at barrier surfaces in response to infection or tissue damage. It has now become apparent that ILCs play more complex roles throughout the duration of immune responses, participating in the transition from innate to adaptive immunity and contributing to chronic inflammation. The proximity of ILCs to epithelial surfaces and their constitutive strategic positioning in other tissues throughout the body ensures that, in spite of their rarity, ILCs are able to regulate immune homeostasis effectively. Dysregulation of ILC function might result in chronic pathologies such as allergies, autoimmunity, and inflammation. A new role for ILCs in the maintenance of metabolic homeostasis has started to emerge, underlining their importance in fundamental physiological processes beyond infection and immunity.
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