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Cardiovasc Res. 2009 Jan 1;81(1):11-9. doi: 10.1093/cvr/cvn248. Epub 2008 Sep 25.

CD4+ CD28 null T cells in coronary artery disease: when helpers become killers.

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  • 1Cardiovascular Biology Research Centre, Division of Cardiac and Vascular Sciences, St George's University of London, Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 0RE, UK.


The crucial role of T cells in atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease (CAD) has been highlighted by recent observations. Helper CD4(+) T cells can both aggravate or attenuate the atherogenic process and the development of CAD. CD4(+)CD28(null) T cells are an unusual subset of helper cells which expand and have deleterious effects in CAD. In this review, we discuss the current issues on the generation of CD4(+)CD28(null) T cells and focus on their phenotypic and functional characteristics relevant to the development of cardiovascular events. The possible effects of the present day therapies for CAD on the CD4(+)CD28(null) T cells are also explored. Targeting the CD4(+)CD28(null) T cell subset in CAD could provide novel therapeutic strategies to prevent acute life-threatening coronary events.

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