Vagal Regulation of Group 3 Innate Lymphoid Cells and the Immunoresolvent PCTR1 Controls Infection Resolution

Immunity. 2017 Jan 17;46(1):92-105. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2016.12.009. Epub 2017 Jan 5.


Uncovering mechanisms that control immune responses in the resolution of bacterial infections is critical for the development of new therapeutic strategies that resolve infectious inflammation without unwanted side effects. We found that disruption of the vagal system in mice delayed resolution of Escherichia coli infection. Dissection of the right vagus decreased peritoneal group 3 innate lymphoid cell (ILC3) numbers and altered peritoneal macrophage responses. Vagotomy resulted in an inflammatory peritoneal lipid mediator profile characterized by reduced concentrations of pro-resolving mediators, including the protective immunoresolvent PCTR1, along with elevated inflammation-initiating eicosanoids. We found that acetylcholine upregulated the PCTR biosynthetic pathway in ILC3s. Administration of PCTR1 or ILC3s to vagotomized mice restored tissue resolution tone and host responses to E. coli infections. Together these findings elucidate a host protective mechanism mediated by ILC3-derived pro-resolving circuit, including PCTR1, that is controlled by local neuronal output to regulate tissue resolution tone and myeloid cell responses.

Keywords: infections; inflammation; lipid mediator profiling; macrophages; omega-3; protectins; vagal reflex.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Separation
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / immunology*
  • Escherichia coli Infections / immunology
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / immunology*
  • Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Peritonitis / immunology*
  • Vagotomy
  • Vagus Nerve / immunology*


  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids