Serum IgE and IgG responses to food antigens in normal and atopic dogs, and dogs with gastrointestinal disease

Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2003 May 12;92(3-4):113-24. doi: 10.1016/s0165-2427(03)00033-3.


In human food allergy, with or without concurrent atopy, there may be significant increases in serum allergen-specific IgE. Serological methods have been tried but are not currently recommended for diagnosis of suspected food allergy in dogs. The aim of this study was to investigate humoral immune responses to food antigens in dogs. Serum IgG and IgE antibodies specific for food antigens were measured by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using polyclonal anti-dog IgG and IgE reagents. Antigens tested were beef, chicken, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, white fish, whole egg, wheat, soybean, barley, rice, maize corn, potato, yeast and cow's milk. Three groups were examined: normal dogs, dogs with atopic dermatitis (AD); and dogs with one of four types of gastrointestinal (GI) disease: small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), food-responsive disease, and infectious diarrhoea. Statistically significant differences in food-specific antibodies were not detected between the GI subgroups. There were statistically significant differences in the IgE concentration between the normal dogs, and dogs with atopic or GI disease, for all of the antigens tested. There were statistically significant differences in the average IgG concentrations between the normal dogs, and dogs with atopic or GI disease, for all of the antigens tested, except egg and yeast. The relationship of antigen responses for pooled data was analysed using principle component analysis and cluster plots. Some clustering of variables was apparent for both IgE and IgG. For example, all dogs (normal and diseased) made a similar IgG antibody response to chicken and turkey. Compared with other groups, atopic dogs had more food allergen-specific IgE and this would be consistent with a Th(2) humoral response to food antigens. Dogs with GI disease had more food allergen-specific IgG compared with the other groups. This may reflect increased antigen exposure due to increased mucosal permeability which is a recognised feature of canine intestinal disease.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens / immunology
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / immunology
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / veterinary*
  • Dog Diseases / immunology*
  • Dogs
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / veterinary
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Food Hypersensitivity / veterinary*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / immunology
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / veterinary*
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood*
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood*
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Principal Component Analysis


  • Antigens
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin E