Beryllium lymphocyte proliferation tests (BeLPT) are used for detecting an individual’s sensitivity to beryllium and for clinical evaluation and diagnosis of patients for chronic beryllium disease. Beryllium is a lightweight metal that can cause a chronic granulomatous disease called berylliosis and more commonly chronic beryllium disease (CBD). The disability associated with CBD is primarily due to lung damage caused by an immune response to beryllium retained in the lung. Development of this disease process is a function of exposure, an individual’s ability to mount a beryllium-specific, cell-mediated immune response to beryllium (called sensitivity), their ability to develop granulomatous responses and possibly other factors.
Testing for an individual’s sensitivity to beryllium using an in-vitro assay is currently used: as a screening assay; as part of the diagnostic criteria for chronic beryllium disease; and for surveillance in identifying unhealthy working conditions.
Beryllium Lymphocyte Proliferation Testing (BeLPT). DOE Specification 1142-2001. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Energy, 2001. Download as PDF