Objective: Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) is a potent cytokine involved in normal immune functions. The aim of this study was to investigate if there is an association between chronic beryllium disease or beryllium sensitization and two variants of the TNF-α gene located at -308 and -238 called TNF-α-308*02 and TNF-α-238*02.
Methods: TNF-α-308 and TNF-α-238 genotyping was conducted in a large, population-based cohort consisting of 886 beryllium workers (92 individuals with chronic beryllium disease, 64 who were beryllium sensitized, and 730 individuals without sensitization or disease).
Results: The odds of chronic beryllium disease in the presence of at least one TNF-α-308*02 or TNF-α-238*02 allele was not significant (OR = 1.0; 95% CI = 0.7, 1.7 and OR = 0.8; 95% CI = 0.4, 1.6). This was true regardless of whether a worker was homozygous or heterozygous for TNF-α-308*02 or TNF-α-238*02. Similarly, neither allele was associated with sensitization (P > 0.05).
Conclusions: Unlike an earlier report, there was no association between these specific TNF-α alleles and either chronic beryllium disease or sensitization to beryllium.