Purpose of review
Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) are specialized immune cells that rapidly sense environmental perturbations and regulate immune responses and tissue homeostasis. ILCs are mainly tissue resident and their crosstalk within tissue microenvironments influences both local and systemic metabolism. Reciprocally, metabolic status conditions ILC phenotype and effector function. In this review, we discuss the role of ILCs as metabolic sentinels and describe how ILC subset-specific activities influence homeostasis and disease. Finally, we highlight emerging challenges in the field of ILC immunometabolism.
Accumulating evidence suggests that ILCs metabolism, phenotype, and function are shaped by signals from the tissue microenvironment. Dietary, endogenous, and microbial metabolites are sensed by ILC subsets and can impact on ILC-mediated immune responses. Recent studies have found that mitochondria are central regulators of ILC effector function. Furthermore, ILCs have emerged as crucial sensors of metabolic stress, suggesting they might act as metabolic sentinels, coordinating tissue and host metabolism.
Our understanding how ILCs mechanistically regulate host metabolism and defenses is still incomplete. Unraveling critical metabolic features of ILCs may lead to novel therapeutic strategies that target these cells in the context of disease.