Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease that is initiated by the deposition and accumulation of low-density lipoproteins in the artery wall. In this review, we will discuss the role of T- and B-cells in human plaques at different stages of atherosclerosis and the utility of profiling circulating immune cells to monitor atherosclerosis progression. Evidence supports a proatherogenic role for intraplaque T helper type 1 (Th1) cells, CD4(+)CD28(null) T-cells, and natural killer T-cells, whereas Th2 cells and regulatory T-cells (Treg) have an atheroprotective role. Several studies indicate that intraplaque T-cells are activated upon recognition of endogenous antigens including heat shock protein 60 and oxidized low-density lipoprotein, but antigens derived from pathogens can also trigger T-cell proliferation and cytokine production. Future studies are needed to assess whether circulating cellular biomarkers can improve identification of vulnerable lesions so that effective intervention can be implemented before clinical manifestations are apparent.