Beryllium is a vocational disease factor and beryllium exposure can potentially lead to Chronic Beryllium Disease (CBD) in 2-6 % of workers. While acute lymphocytic pneumonia occurred in individuals who were exposed to high doses of beryllium, low dose exposure to beryllium followed by a long subclinical period can cause CBD characterized with chronic granulomatosis. It has been observed that varying amounts of beryllium exposure are necessary to produce symptoms of CBD or beryllium sensitization (BeS). Genetic differences between patients may be the underlying cause of these dose-effects and further study of the differences in patients exposed to beryllium may lead to earlier diagnosis and the identification of biomarkers of CBD. In this review, it is summarized the general properties of beryllium exposure, the immunopathogenesis and genetic differences of beryllium-induced diseases, genotoxicity and the carcinogenic effects of beryllium.
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