ILIAD Intestinal Lymphocyte In Inflammatory and Autoimmune Diseases

Responsable : Bertrand Meresse

Workpackage : WP3

The team

The group studies the populations of lymphocytes that populate the intestinal mucosa with the aim of deciphering their roles in health and intestinal immune mediated disorders, such as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and Celiac disease (CeD). We have a strong expertise in human immunology and we use advanced approaches and develop our own experimental models to investigate functions of immune cells from patients.

Research topics

Our research is mainly focused on intestinal Intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs), a specific subset of tissue resident memory cells which localize within the epithelial layer all along the digestive tract. Owing to their strategic location and their effector, regulatory, and protective functions, IELs are interesting targets for preventive and curative treatments in many pathologies including infectious diseases, intolerance to alimentary antigens, inflammatory bowel disease as well as colorectal cancer. Our knowledge on IELs is however mainly based on works in mice which are quite different from that in humans. Our objective is then to shed the light on human IELs and on their shielding or harmful functions in health and pathology.


We developed an in vitro assay to study functions human IELs. The model is based on a co-culture of IELs with a 2 dimensional (2D) autologous epithelium obtained from intestinal organoids. This powerful assay is used to test key shielding functions of IELs which maintains basal epithelial homeostasis (e.g. maturation, renewing and shedding) and protect the host against infections and malignant transformation.


 Coculture of CellTracker labeled-IEL (red) with 2D intestinal organoids  
                     output300         cytotox50 20230329091210
                                Epithelial cell shedding (green)                            Cytotoxicity of IELs