C2: Vascular control of liver innate lymphoid cells in homeostasis, inflammation and cancer

Adelheid Cerwenka

The interface between endothelial cells and immune cells remains incompletely understood. Liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSECs) reside in the liver sinusoids and display a large surface area for the interaction with passenger leukocytes or other liver-resident immune cell populations. Recently, LSECs were shown to play regulatory roles on cells of the adaptive immune system such as T cells. Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) that comprise cytotoxic Natural Killer (NK) cells and tissue resident helper ILC1-3 subsets that rapidly produce inflammatory cytokines are emerging immune regulators in the liver. ILCs are critical players during the initiation and perpetuation of immune responses against viral and bacterial infection in tissues and against malignant disease. Moreover, they orchestrate subsequent adaptive immune responses. In our project, we will investigate mechanisms of vascular control of liver innate lymphoid cells during inflammatory and malignant liver diseases. All together, the results obtained in our study might identify endothelial cells as novel regulators of innate immunity in the liver potentially revealing novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of liver disease.