Steroid-resistant human inflammatory ILC2s are marked by CD45RO and elevated in type 2 respiratory diseases

Esmee van der Ploeg, K Golebski, Menno van Nimwegen, JR Fergusson, BA Heesters, I Martinez-Gonzalez, CMA Kradolfer, S van der Tol, BP Scicluna, Marjolein De Jong - de Bruijn, Geertje de Boer, GA Tramper-Stranders, GJ (Gert-Jan) Braunstahl, Wilfred van Ijcken, Paul Nagtegaal, CM van Drunen, WJ Fokkens, Danny Huylebroeck, H Spits, Rudi HendriksRalph Stadhouders, Suzanne Bal

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62 Citations (Scopus)


Group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s) orchestrate protective type 2 immunity and have been implicated in various immune disorders. In the mouse, circulatory inflammatory ILC2s (iILC2s) were identified as a major source of type 2 cytokines. The human equivalent of the iILC2 subset remains unknown. Here, we identify a human inflammatory ILC2 population that resides in inflamed mucosal tissue and is specifically marked by surface CD45RO expression. CD45RO+ ILC2s are derived from resting CD45RA+ ILC2s upon activation by epithelial alarmins such as IL-33 and TSLP, which is tightly linked to STAT5 activation and up-regulation of the IRF4/BATF transcription factors. Transcriptome analysis reveals marked similarities between human CD45RO+ ILC2s and mouse iILC2s. Frequencies of CD45RO+ inflammatory ILC2 are increased in inflamed mucosal tissue and in the circulation of patients with chronic rhinosinusitis or asthma, correlating with disease severity and resistance to corticosteroid therapy. CD45RA-to-CD45RO ILC2 conversion is suppressed by corticosteroids via induction of differentiation toward an immunomodulatory ILC2 phenotype characterized by low type 2 cytokine and high amphiregulin expression. Once converted, however, CD45RO+ ILC2s are resistant to corticosteroids, which is associated with metabolic reprogramming resulting in the activation of detoxification pathways. Our combined data identify CD45RO+ inflammatory ILC2s as a human analog of mouse iILC2s linked to severe type 2 inflammatory disease and therapy resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereabd3489
JournalScience immunology
Issue number55
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2021

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