Group 2 Innate Lymphoid Cells (ILC2): Type 2 Immunity and Helminth Immunity

Int J Mol Sci. 2019 May 8;20(9):2276. doi: 10.3390/ijms20092276.


Group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2) have emerged as a major component of type 2 inflammation in mice and humans. ILC2 secrete large amounts of interleukins 5 and 13, which are largely responsible for host protective immunity against helminth parasites because these cytokines induce profound changes in host physiology that include: goblet cell metaplasia, mucus accumulation, smooth muscle hypercontractility, eosinophil and mast cell recruitment, and alternative macrophage activation (M2). This review covers the initial recognition of ILC2 as a distinct cell lineage, the key studies that established their biological importance, particularly in helminth infection, and the new directions that are likely to be the focus of emerging work that further explores this unique cell population in the context of health and disease.

Keywords: helminth; innate lymphocyte; mucosa; type 2 immunity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Lineage / immunology
  • Helminthiasis / immunology*
  • Helminthiasis / parasitology
  • Helminths / immunology*
  • Helminths / pathogenicity
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / genetics
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology*
  • Interleukin-13 / genetics
  • Interleukin-5 / genetics
  • Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Mice


  • Interleukin-13
  • Interleukin-5