Group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s) in mouse lungs are activated by the epithelium-derived alarmin IL-33. Activated ILC2s proliferate and produce IL-5 and IL-13 that drive allergic responses. In neonatal lungs, the occurrence of spontaneous activation of lung ILC2s is dependent on endogenous IL-33. Here, we report that neonatal lung ILC2 activation by endogenous IL-33 has significant effects on ILC2 functions in adulthood. Most neonatal lung ILC2s incorporated 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine (BrdU) and persisted into adulthood. BrdU+ ILC2s in adult lungs responded more intensely to IL-33 treatment compared with BrdU– ILC2s. In IL-33–deficient (KO) mice, lung ILC2s develop normally, but they are not activated in the neonatal period. Lung ILC2s in KO mice responded less intensely to IL-33 in adulthood compared with WT ILC2s. While there was no difference in the number of lung ILC2s, there were fewer IL-13+ ILC2s in KO mice compared with those in WT mice. The impaired responsiveness of ILC2s in KO mice was reversed by i.n. administrations of IL-33 in the neonatal period. These results suggest that activation of lung ILC2s by endogenous IL-33 in the neonatal period may “train” ILC2s seeding the lung after birth to become long-lasting resident cells that respond more efficiently to challenges later in life.
Catherine A. Steer, Laura Mathä, Hanjoo Shim, Fumio Takei
ILC2s labeled with BrdU in the neonatal period respond more intensely than BrdU– ILC2s to IL-33 treatment later in life.