Background: Food allergy is a major health issue, but its pathogenesis remains obscure. Group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s) promote allergic inflammation. However their role in food allergy is largely unknown.
Objective: We sought to investigate the role of ILC2s in food allergy.
Methods: Food allergy-prone mice with a gain-of-function mutation in the IL-4 receptor α chain (Il4raF709) were orally sensitized with food allergens, and the ILC2 compartment was analyzed. The requirement for ILC2s in food allergy was investigated by using Il4raF709, IL-33 receptor-deficient (Il1rl1(-/-)), IL-13-deficient (Il13(-/-)), and IL-4-deficient (Il4(-/-)) mice and by adoptive transfer of in vitro-expanded ILC2s. Direct effects of ILC2s on regulatory T (Treg) cells and mast cells were analyzed in coculture experiments. Treg cell control of ILC2s was assessed in vitro and in vivo.
Results: Il4raF709 mice with food allergy exhibit increased numbers of ILC2s. IL-4 secretion by ILC2s contributes to the allergic response by reducing allergen-specific Treg cell and activating mast cell counts. IL-33 receptor deficiency in Il4raF709 Il1rl1(-/-) mice protects against allergen sensitization and anaphylaxis while reducing ILC2 induction. Adoptive transfer of wild-type and Il13(-/-) but not Il4(-/-) ILC2s restored sensitization in Il4raF709 Il1rl1(-/-) mice. Treg cells suppress ILC2s in vitro and in vivo.
Conclusion: IL-4 production by IL-33-stimulated ILC2s blocks the generation of allergen-specific Treg cells and favors food allergy. Strategies to block ILC2 activation or the IL-33/IL-33 receptor pathway can lead to innovative therapies in the treatment of food allergy.
Keywords: Anaphylaxis; IL-13; IL-33; IL-4; food allergy; group 2 innate lymphoid cells; innate lymphoid cells; mast cells; nuocytes; oral tolerance; regulatory T cells.
Copyright © 2016 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.