Differential Effects of the Absence of Nkx2-3 and MAdCAM-1 on the Distribution of Intestinal Type 3 Innate Lymphoid Cells and Postnatal SILT Formation in Mice

Dóra Vojkovics, Zoltán Kellermayer, Fanni Gábris, Angela Schippers, Norbert Wagner, Gergely Berta, Kornélia Farkas, P. Balogh

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Seeding of leukocytes to developing lymphoid tissues in embryonic and early postnatal age and to the mucosa throughout adulthood depends on the interaction between endothelial MAdCAM-1 addressin and its cognate ligand α4β7 integrin. Nkx2-3 as a transcriptional regulator of MAdCAM-1 controls vascular patterning in visceral lymphoid tissues in mice, and has been identified as a susceptibility factor for inflammatory bowel diseases in humans, associated with lymphoid neogenesis in the inflamed intestines. The role of Nkx2-3 in the organogenesis of the solitary intestinal lymphoid tissues (SILTs) involving type 3 innate lymphoid cells (ILC3) is still unknown. Here we investigated the effect of Nkx2-3 on the postnatal distribution of intestinal ILC3s and the development of SILTs, comparing these to mice lacking MAdCAM-1, but preserving Nkx2-3. At 1 week of age small intestines (SI) contained significantly higher number of ILC3s relative to the colon, with a substantial reduction in MAdCAM-1-/- mice compared to C57BL/6 controls. One week later SI ILC3 number decreased in all genotypes, the number of colonic ILC3 of both Nkx2-3-deficient and Nkx2-3-heterozygous mice significantly increased. On the fourth postnatal week a further reduction of SI ILC3s was observed in both Nkx2-3-deficient and Nkx2-3-heterozygous mice, while in the colon the number of ILC3s showed a significant reduction in all genotypes. At 1 week of age only sporadic SILT components were present in all genotypes. By the second week mice deficient for either Nkx2-3 or MAdCAM-1 showed absence of SILT maturation compared to their relevant controls, lacking mature isolated lymphoid follicles (ILF). By the fourth week both Nkx2-3-deficient and Nkx2-3-heterozygous mice showed a similar distribution of ILFs relative to cryptopatches (CP), whereas in MAdCAM-1-/- mice CPs and immature ILFs were present, mature ILFs were scarce. Our data demonstrate that the complete absence of MAdCAM-1 partially impairs intestinal seeding of ILC3s and causes partial blockade of SILT maturation, without affecting peripheral lymph node development. In contrast, the inactivation of Nkx2-3 permits postnatal seeding, and its blocking effect on SILT maturation prevails at later stage, thus other adhesion molecules may compensate for the intestinal homing of ILC3s in the absence of MAdCAM-1.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
JournalFrontiers in immunology
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019



  • cryptopatch
  • ILC3
  • isolated lymphoid follicle
  • MAdCAM-1
  • NKX2-3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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