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Significance of the Blood Beryllium Lymphocyte Proliferation Test

Lee S. Newman
Environmental Health Perspectives
Vol. 104, Supplement 5 (Oct., 1996), pp. 953-956
DOI: 10.2307/3433017
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3433017
Page Count: 4
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Significance of the Blood Beryllium Lymphocyte Proliferation Test
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Abstract

The blood beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test (BeLPT) is an in vitro measure of the beryllium antigen-specific cell-mediated immune response. This response to beryllium is now understood to play a central role in the immunopathogenesis of chronic beryllium disease (CBD). Although there remain some unresolved methodologic issues with testing, the blood BeLPT has already undergone sufficient development and field assessment to lead to a number of important conclusions: a) The BeLPT identifies beryllium sensitization and CBD earlier and better than any other clinical test presently available. b) The CBD cases identified with the blood test are clinically significant. c) A subset of the people identified by the BeLPT who do not yet have clinical disease will progress and require treatment with corticosteroids for impairing illness. d) The BeLPT can be used to improve clinical diagnostic accuracy and to correct mistaken diagnoses. e) The blood test can be used in screening large numbers of exposed workers because it is sensitive and specific and has high positive and negative predictive value for CBD. f) In every workforce studied to date, the BeLPT has identified beryllium sensitization and CBD that had been missed by conventional screening efforts. g) Worker populations that have been characterized using the BeLPT can help to elucidate the role of exposure genetics and dysregulated inflammation in the genesis of occupational lung disease.

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