Arginase 1 is an innate lymphoid-cell-intrinsic metabolic checkpoint controlling type 2 inflammation

Nat Immunol. 2016 Jun;17(6):656-65. doi: 10.1038/ni.3421. Epub 2016 Apr 4.


Group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s) regulate tissue inflammation and repair after activation by cell-extrinsic factors such as host-derived cytokines. However, the cell-intrinsic metabolic pathways that control ILC2 function are undefined. Here we demonstrate that expression of the enzyme arginase-1 (Arg1) during acute or chronic lung inflammation is a conserved trait of mouse and human ILC2s. Deletion of mouse ILC-intrinsic Arg1 abrogated type 2 lung inflammation by restraining ILC2 proliferation and dampening cytokine production. Mechanistically, inhibition of Arg1 enzymatic activity disrupted multiple components of ILC2 metabolic programming by altering arginine catabolism, impairing polyamine biosynthesis and reducing aerobic glycolysis. These data identify Arg1 as a key regulator of ILC2 bioenergetics that controls proliferative capacity and proinflammatory functions promoting type 2 inflammation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arginase / genetics
  • Arginase / metabolism*
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Glycolysis / genetics
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Lymphocyte Activation / genetics
  • Lymphocytes / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Pneumonia / immunology*
  • Polyamines / metabolism
  • Th2 Cells / immunology


  • Cytokines
  • Polyamines
  • Arg1 protein, mouse
  • Arginase