Type 2 innate lymphoid cells inhibit the differentiation of osteoclasts and protect from ovariectomy-induced bone loss

Bone. 2020 Jul:136:115335. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2020.115335. Epub 2020 Mar 30.


While the role of T cells in the regulation of bone homeostasis is well defined, little is known about the role of innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) on bone. ILCs are innate immune cells that share cytokine expression patterns with T cells but lack the T cell receptor. In this study we show that type 2 ILCs (ILC2) potently inhibit the generation of bone resorbing osteoclasts in vitro as well as favorably influence bone homeostasis under steady state conditions in vivo using loss and gain of function models. Furthermore, adoptive transfer of ILC2 completely abrogated ovariectomy-induced bone loss by significantly down-regulating osteoclast numbers in vivo. The suppressive effects of ILC2s on osteoclasts in vitro and in vivo as well as the protection from ovariectomy-induced bone loss were linked to their expression of IL-4 and IL-13 as well as STAT6 activation on the myeloid target cell, since deletion of IL-4/IL-13 in ILC2s or STAT6 in osteoclast precursors abrogated the anti-osteoclastogenic effect of ILC2s. Taken together, these findings show that ILC2 have to be considered as potent regulators of bone homeostasis.

Keywords: Bone loss; Cytokines; ILC2; Osteoclasts; Osteoimmunology; Type 2 innate lymphoid cells type.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cytokines
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Lymphocytes
  • Osteoclasts*
  • Ovariectomy


  • Cytokines