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Inflammation Explanation

How immune cells called ILC2s are guided to the site of inflammation

30 June 2019

Inflammation Explanation

Your immune system rapidly responds to protect you whenever you’re injured, or invaded by microorganisms or parasites. Inflammation is a key part of this activation, rallying the troops. It’s at the heart of both healthy protection and allergic reactions, so understanding the details is important for developing new treatments. While a group of cells called ILC2s (group 2 innate lymphoid cells, green in the slice of mouse lung pictured) were known to play an important role in inflammation, what drove them wasn’t clear. A new study now shows that they home towards specific chemokines – signalling proteins – and are guided along the way by the extracellular matrix – the structure surrounding cells (shown in pink and blue). Knowing that structural cues from this matrix, along with molecular guiding lights, steer ILC2 behaviour during inflammation helps our understanding of both allergic and disease-fighting reactions, which may eventually help us intervene when needed.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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