Disorders of immune tolerance may lead to allergic asthma. Innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s) and inflammatory ILC2s (iILC2s) are key players in asthma. The vagus nerve innervating the airways releases acetylcholine (ACh) or neuropeptides (i.e. CGRP) via pulmonary C fibres (PCFs), which could regulate ILC2 activity upon binding the α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7nAChR, coded by Chrna7) or neuropeptide receptors. Whether and how α7nAChR and PCFs regulate asthma and the formation of asthma tolerance via ILC2s or iILC2s is poorly understood. We used vagotomized, PCF degeneration, and Chrna7 knockout mice to investigate ovalbumin (OVA)-induced asthma and oral OVA feeding-induced asthma tolerance. Our results revealed that vagotomy could generally suppress lung ILC2s and iILC2s, which mitigated allergic asthma responses but disrupted asthmatic tolerance. Removal of neuropeptides by PCF degeneration also reduced lung ILC2s and iILC2s, attenuating asthma responses, but did not affect asthma tolerance. In comparison, deletion of Chrna7 increased resident ILC2s and trafficking iILC2s in the lung, worsened allergic inflammation, and disrupted oral tolerance. Mechanistically, deletion of Chrna7 in asthma-tolerant conditions upregulated Th2 cytokine- (Il4, Il13, and Il25) and sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P)-related genes (S1pr1 and Sphk1). Blockade of S1P reduced iILC2 recruitment into asthmatic lungs. Our work first demonstrates that vagal-α7nAChR signalling engaging with iILC2s and S1P not only alleviates asthma but also facilitates asthma tolerance. These findings may provide a novel therapeutic target for attenuating asthma by enhancing asthmatic tolerance.
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