Animal models have highlighted the importance of innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) in multiple immune responses. However, technical limitations have hampered adequate characterization of ILCs in humans. Here, we used mass cytometry including a broad range of surface markers and transcription factors to accurately identify and profile ILCs across healthy and inflamed tissue types. High dimensional analysis allowed for clear phenotypic delineation of ILC2 and ILC3 subsets. We were not able to detect ILC1 cells in any of the tissues assessed, however, we identified intra-epithelial (ie)ILC1-like cells that represent a broader category of NK cells in mucosal and non-mucosal pathological tissues. In addition, we have revealed the expression of phenotypic molecules that have not been previously described for ILCs. Our analysis shows that human ILCs are highly heterogeneous cell types between individuals and tissues. It also provides a global, comprehensive, and detailed description of ILC heterogeneity in humans across patients and tissues.
Keywords: CyTOF; ILC; ILC1; ILC2; ILC3; human; ieILC1.
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