Seminars in Immunopathology

, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp 393–406 | Cite as

Innate lymphoid cells in autoimmunity and chronic inflammatory diseases

  • Tingting Xiong
  • Jan-Eric Turner


Abnormal activation of the innate immune system is a common feature of autoimmune and chronic inflammatory diseases. Since their identification as a separate family of leukocytes, innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) have emerged as important effector cells of the innate immune system. Alterations in ILC function and subtype distribution have been observed in a variety of immune-mediated diseases in humans and evidence from experimental models suggests a subtype specific role of ILCs in the pathophysiology of autoimmune inflammation. In this review, we discuss recent advances in the understanding of ILC biology in autoimmune and chronic inflammatory disorders, including multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel diseases, psoriasis, and rheumatic diseases, with a special focus on the potential of ILCs as therapeutic targets for the development of novel treatment strategies in humans.


Innate lymphoid cells Autoimmune disease Rheumatic disease Inflammatory bowel disease Multiple sclerosis Psoriasis 



We thank Martina Becker for the excellent help with preparing the figures.


J.-E.T. is supported by an Emmy Noether Grant of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (TU316/1-2) and by the Collaborative Research Center 1192 “Immune-Mediated Glomerular Diseases” funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.III. Medizinische KlinikUniversitätsklinikum Hamburg-EppendorfHamburgGermany

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