Interactions between ncr+ilc3s and the microbiome in the airways shape asthma severity

Jongho Ham, Jihyun Kim, Sungmi Choi, Jaehyun Park, Min Gyung Baek, Young Chan Kim, Kyoung Hee Sohn, Sang Heon Cho, Siyoung Yang, Yong Soo Bae, Doo Hyun Chung, Sungho Won, Hana Yi, Hye Ryun Kang, Hye Young Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Asthma is a heterogeneous disease whose development is shaped by a variety of environmental and genetic factors. While several recent studies suggest that microbial dysbiosis in the gut may promote asthma, little is known about the relationship between the recently discovered lung microbiome and asthma. Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) have also been shown recently to participate in asthma. To investigate the relationship between the lung microbiome, ILCs, and asthma, we recruited 23 healthy controls (HC), 42 patients with non-severe asthma, and 32 patients with severe asthma. Flow cytometry analysis showed severe asthma associated with fewer natural cytotoxicity receptor (NCR)+ILC3s in the lung. Similar changes in other ILC subsets, macrophages, and monocytes were not observed. The asthma patients did not differ from the HC in terms of the alpha and beta-diversity of the lung and gut microbiomes. However, lung function correlated positively with both NCR+ILC3 frequencies and microbial diversity in the lung. Sputum NCR+ILC3 frequencies correlated positively with lung microbiome diversity in the HC, but this relationship was inversed in severe asthma. Together, these data suggest that airway NCR+ILC3s may contribute to a healthy commensal diversity and normal lung function.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere25
JournalImmune Network
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Aug

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (2019R1A2C2087574 and SRC 2017R1A5A1014560).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021. The Korean Association of Immunologists.


  • Asthma
  • Host-microbial interaction
  • Innate lymphoid cells
  • Microbiota
  • Sputum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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