Total and specific serum IgE decreases with age in patients with allergic rhinitis, asthma and insect allergy but not in patients with atopic dermatitis

Immun Ageing. 2005 May 31;2(1):9. doi: 10.1186/1742-4933-2-9.


Concerning allergic diseases, the incidence of allergic symptoms, as well as their severity, seems to decrease with age. The decline of onset of allergic symptoms observed in ageing might result from a decrease of serum total and specific IgE. Atopic disorders are complex diseases that involve interactions among several physiological systems, e.g. skin, lung, mucosae, and the immune system. It was the aim of this study to compare the effects of age on total and specific IgE in patients with atopic dermatitis (AD), allergic rhinitis or asthma, and insect allergy, respectively.The study population consisted of 559 individuals (male: 229 and female: 330). Total and allergen specific IgE was measured in every individual. From the whole study population, 113 patients suffered from atopic dermatitis (AD), 132 had allergic rhinitis or asthma, and 314 were tested because of insect allergy. Total and specific serum IgE was significantly decreased as a function of age in patients with allergic rhinitis and asthma and with insect allergy. In contrast, no significant decrease of total and specific serum IgE in old individuals with AD was observed. Additionally, in the group of patients with a total IgE < 300 kU/l a reduction of total serum IgE was significantly correlated with age. In contrast, patients with IgE levels > 300 kU/l showed no correlation with age.Immunosenescence does not affect increased IgE levels in atopic patients with AD and/or high serum IgE levels indicating that in these subgroups of patients the atopic propensity remains into advanced age. One may hypothesize that either onset of allergic sensitization during life or the kind of atopic disease influences the correlation between age and IgE synthesis.