Cord blood IgE: its determinants and prediction of development of asthma and other allergic disorders at 12 months

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2000 Jan;84(1):37-42. doi: 10.1016/S1081-1206(10)62738-X.


Background: The value of cord blood IgE in predicting the development of asthma and other IgE-mediated allergic diseases is unclear.

Objective: The purpose of this study is twofold: (1) to determine factors affecting cord blood IgE level and (2) to determine whether cord blood IgE predicts the development of asthma and other IgE-mediated allergic diseases in high risk (defined as those with at least one first degree relative with asthma or 2 first degree relatives with other IgE-mediated allergic diseases) infants at 12 months.

Methods: The study utilized cord blood obtained from a group of high risk infants who took part in a randomized controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of an intervention program in the primary prevention of asthma and other IgE-mediated allergic diseases. Total IgE and cotinine in the cord blood were measured. Assessment of the infants was done at 12 months for these diseases.

Results: Sixty-four (17.8%) infants had detectable total IgE in cord blood >0.5 kU/L. The proportion of infants with elevated cord blood IgE was significantly higher among nonwhites, birth during winter months, and those with a maternal history of asthma. There was no correlation between cord blood IgE and cord blood cotinine level. Cord blood IgE was found to be a significant predictor for the development of urticaria due to food allergy but not for other outcomes.

Conclusion: Both genetic and environmental risk factors play a role in determining the level of IgE in cord blood. Cord blood IgE was a significant risk factor for the development of urticaria due to food allergy at 12 months of life. As urticaria due to food allergy is a prodrome for anaphylaxis, measurement of IgE in cord blood may be indicated in infants at high risk for developing allergic diseases so that preventive measures can be applied.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma / etiology*
  • Birth Weight
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / etiology*
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Regression Analysis
  • Seasons
  • Smoking / adverse effects


  • Immunoglobulin E