Reviewed by Lisa A. Maier, MD, MSPH, FCCP

About Beryllium Sensitization

Beryllium sensitization is an allergy to beryllium that may develop after a susceptible person breathes beryllium dust or fumes, or if beryllium penetrates the skin through an open cut or skin exposure. Individuals that have a certain gene called HLA-DPB Glu69 are susceptible and more likely to become sensitized after exposure to beryllium.

In individuals with beryllium sensitization, the immune system thinks beryllium is a “foreign substance” and sends immune cells into the bloodstream that react to the beryllium. These cells can be found in the blood using a test called the beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test (BeLPT).


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