Migration and Tissue Tropism of Innate Lymphoid Cells

Trends Immunol. 2016 Jan;37(1):68-79. doi: 10.1016/j.it.2015.11.003. Epub 2015 Dec 18.


Innate lymphoid cell (ILCs) subsets differentially populate various barrier and non-barrier tissues, where they play important roles in tissue homeostasis and tissue-specific responses to pathogen attack. Recent findings have provided insight into the molecular mechanisms that guide ILC migration into peripheral tissues, revealing common features among different ILC subsets as well as important distinctions. Recent studies have also highlighted the impact of tissue-specific cues on ILC migration, and the importance of the local immunological milieu. We review these findings here and discuss how the migratory patterns and tissue tropism of different ILC subsets relate to the development and differentiation of these cells, and to ILC-mediated tissue-specific regulation of innate and adaptive immune responses. In this context we outline open questions and important areas of future research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Movement
  • Cellular Microenvironment
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Lymphocytes / physiology*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Receptors, Lymphocyte Homing / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Receptors, Lymphocyte Homing