Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease. Atherosclerotic plaques contain abundant immune cells that can dictate and effect inflammatory responses. Among them, T cells are present during all stages of the disease suggesting that they are essential in the initiation as well as the progression of plaque. Experimental as well as clinical research has demonstrated different T cell subsets, i.e. CD4+ Th1, Th2, Th17, and Treg as well as CD8+ and NKT cells in the plaque. Moreover, candidate antigens inducing T cell responses have been identified. Knowledge about the pathological role of these cells in atherogenesis may lead to development of new therapies. This review provides an overview of the research field of cellular immunity in atherosclerosis. It emphasises the events and findings involving antigen specific T cells, in particular low-density lipoprotein-specific T cells.
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