Decreased proportion of CD4 T cells in the blood of atomic bomb survivors with myocardial infarction

Radiat Res. 1999 Nov;152(5):539-43.


Epidemiological studies of the atomic bomb survivors have suggested dose-related increases in mortality from diseases other than cancer. Cardiovascular disease is one such noncancer disease for which increases in both mortality and incidence have been found to be associated with radiation dose. Immunological studies have revealed long-term impairment of T-cell-mediated immunity, especially involving deficiencies of CD4 helper T cells, in atomic bomb survivors. In the present study, we investigated whether decreases in CD4 T cells were associated with myocardial infarction in atomic bomb survivors. Of 1,006 survivors examined to determine the proportion of CD4 T cells in peripheral blood lymphocytes, 18 persons had a history of myocardial infarction. The proportion of CD4 T cells was significantly decreased with increased radiation dose [corrected]. Further, the prevalence of myocardial infarction was significantly greater in individuals with a lower proportion of CD4 T cells. These results suggest that myocardial infarction in atomic bomb survivors may be associated with defects in CD4 helper T cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count*
  • CD4-CD8 Ratio
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / blood*
  • Nuclear Warfare*
  • Survival*