Differential phenotypic and functional properties of liver-resident NK cells and mucosal ILC1s

Ling Tang, Hui Peng, Jing Zhou, Yongyan Chen, Haiming Wei, Rui Sun, Wayne M. Yokoyama, Zhigang Tian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Group 1 innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) consist of conventional natural killer (cNK) cells, tissue-resident NK cells and mucosal ILC1s. Recently identified liver-resident NK cells, which can mount contact hypersensitivity responses, and mucosal ILC1s that are involved in pathogenesis of colitis are distinct from cNK cells in several aspects, but the issue of how they are related to each other has not been clearly clarified. Here, we show that liver-resident NK cells and mucosal ILC1s have different phenotypes, as evidenced by distinct expression patterns of homing-associated molecules. Moreover, mucosal ILC1s exhibit tissue residency akin to liver-resident NK cells. Importantly, liver-resident NK cells express relative high levels of cytotoxic effector molecules, which are poorly expressed by mucosal ILC1s, and exhibit stronger cytotoxic activity compared with mucosal ILC1s. These results demonstrate differential phenotypic and functional characteristics of liver-resident NK cells and mucosal ILC1s, shedding new light on the diversity of ILC family.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-35
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Autoimmunity
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • Conventional NK cell
  • Cytotoxicity
  • ILC1
  • Liver-resident NK cell
  • Phenotype


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