A large proportion of specific IgE occurred in immune complexes with anti-IgE autoantibodies in sera from nonhyposensitized allergic patients. These autoantibodies were misinterpreted as 'specific IgG' in different immunoassays such as dot immunoassays and the radioallergosorbent test (RAST), leading to overestimation of specific IgG. Purified immune complexes contained even more IgG than IgE antibodies. Heating of the complexes liberated specific IgE, producing an upwards RAST class shift. Thus anti-IgE autoantibodies are hiding the specific IgE, which is thereby underestimated. It is not known whether the hiding anti-IgE autoantibodies are also effectively neutralizing circulating or cell-bound IgE and might represent the actual blocking antibody.