The vagal system regulates the production of lipid mediators such as resolvins, which are linked to the resolution phase of inflammation. In Immunity, Serhan and colleagues show that after infection with Escherichia coli, the vagus nerve controls the resolution of inflammation by signaling through cholinergic receptors on peritoneal group 3 innate lymphoid cells (ILC3s). Resection of the right vagus trunk induces a decrease in the peritoneal concentration of the lipid mediator PCTR1 and the number of peritoneal ILC3s. After infection with E. coli, mice whose vagus nerve has been cut show enhanced infiltration of neutrophils, diminished phagocytosis by macrophages and delayed resolution of inflammation. Administration of PCTR1 or transfer of ILC3s rescues mice from these effects. ILC3s express cholinergic receptors and in response to acetylcholine, a vagus-nerve-derived neurotransmitter, induce the production of PCTR1 in peritoneal macrophages.
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Visan, I. Neuroimmune interactions: ILC3s. Nat Immunol 18, 254 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/ni.3699