Exposure and genetics increase risk of beryllium sensitisation and chronic beryllium disease in the nuclear weapons industry

Beryllium sensitisation (BeS) and chronic beryllium disease (CBD) are caused by exposure to beryllium with susceptibility affected by at least one well-studied genetic host factor, a glutamic acid residue at position 69 (E69) of the HLA-DPâ chain (DPRE69). However, the nature of the relationship between exposure and carriage of the DPâE69 genotype has not been well studied. The goal of this study was to det. the relationship between DPâE69 and exposure in BeS and CBD. The researchers enrolled current and former workers (n)181) from a US nuclear weapons production facility, the Y-12 National Security Complex (Oak Ridge, Tennessee, USA), in a case-control study including 35 individuals with BeS and 19 with CBD. HLA-DPB1 genotypes were detected by PCR-SSP. Beryllium exposures were assessed through worker interviews and industrial hygiene assessment of work tasks. After removing the confounding effect of potential beryllium exposure at another facility, multivariate models showed a sixfold (OR 6.06, 95% CI 1.96 to 18.7) increased odds for BeS and CBD combined among DPâE69 carriers and a fourfold (OR 3.98, 95% CI 1.43 to 11.0) increased odds for those exposed over an assigned lifetime-weighted average exposure of 0.1 íg/m3. Those with both risk factors had higher increased odds (OR 24.1, 95% CI 4.77 to 122). The authors concluded that the findings from the present study show that DPâE69 carriage and high exposure to beryllium appear to contribute individually to the development of BeS and CBD. Among workers at a beryllium-using facility, the magnitude of risk associated with either elevated beryllium exposure or carriage of DPâE69 alone appears to be similar.

Authors: van Dyke, Michael V.; Martyny, John W.; Mroz, Margaret M.; Silveira, Lori J.; Strand, Matt; Cragle, Donna L.; Tankersley, William G.; Wells, Susan M.; Newman, Lee S.; Maier, Lisa A. Full Source: Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2011, 68(11), 842-848 (Eng) ;