Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Great Innate

Greater understanding of the role of cells of the innate immune system

16 December 2022

Great Innate

Two prongs of your immune system tackle invaders with a precision pincer movement to keep infections at bay. The innate immune system is fast-responding and unspecialised, while the adaptive develops tailored defences against specific foes with each infection it encounters. How precisely the innate system works, or even whether some parts might be redundant accompaniments to the adaptive elements, is not fully understood. A new study examined the effect of blocking one component of the innate system, group 2 innate lymphoid cells, in mice. Without these cells, the inflammatory response – key to staving off attacks – could not develop properly, and mucus (yellow in the infected intestine cross-section pictured) production was limited meaning parasites could not be expelled. Allergy responses were also worsened by a lack of these cells, highlighting the innate immune system’s integral importance, and perhaps pointing to new treatment approaches.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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