Definitions for "CD4 Cells"
A type of white blood cell that acts as a communicator between the different cells in the immune system.
Cells that manage “watchmen cells” (see immune system). Working together, they patrol the body and look out for intruders. CD4 cells are HIV's main target: The virus infects and destroys them. When too many CD4 cells have been destroyed, the watchmen cannot do their job properly. Protection of the body is no longer ensured and opportunistic diseases can develop.
1. A type of T cell involved in protecting against viral, fungal, and protozoal infections. These cells normally orchestrate the immune response, signaling other cells in the immune system to perform their special functions. Also known as T helper cells. 2. HIV's preferred targets are cells that have a docking molecule called "cluster designation 4" (CD4) on their surfaces. Cells with this molecule are known as CD4-positive (or CD4+) cells. Destruction of CD4 lymphocytes is the major cause of the immunodeficiency observed in AIDS, and decreasing CD4 lymphocyte levels appears to be the best indicator for developing opportunistic infections. Although CD4 counts fall, the total T cell level remains fairly constant through the course of HIV disease, because of a concomitant increase in the CD8 cells. The ratio of CD4 to CD8 cells is therefore an important measure of disease progression. See CD8 (T8) Cells; Immunodeficiency.