Longitudinal trends of total and allergen-specific IgE throughout childhood

Allergy. 2009 Jul;64(7):1093-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2009.02055.x.


Background: The development and the quantitative relationship between allergen-specific IgE (S-IgE) responses and total IgE (T-IgE), during childhood and adolescence have not been described and understood in detail. The objective of this study was to describe and compare the longitudinal trends of serum levels of S-IgE and T-IgE during childhood.

Methods: We analysed data from participants in the MAS birth cohort study at 2, 5, 7 and 10 years of age (n = 273) and at 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 10 and 13 years (n = 84). Total-IgE and the overall level of specific-IgE against nine locally relevant airborne and food allergens were determined by FEIA (ImmunoCAP). Allergic rhino-conjunctivitis and asthma were ascertained by questionnaires.

Results: Longitudinal patterns of T-IgE levels from age 1 to 13 years were highly heterogeneous (declining, flat or increasing with different profiles). From 5 years of age, logarithmic (log(10)) transformed values of T-IgE and of S-IgE levels tend to follow a parallel trend, so that their relation remained constant throughout school age. A flat trend of T-IgE vs a constantly increasing trend of T-IgE was associated with a low or, respectively, high rate of wheezing at 13 years of age.

Conclusions: Beginning at the age of 5 years, total serum IgE levels in children from an industrialized country evolved in parallel with overall S-IgE levels. Therefore, variations in T-IgE levels at school age closely reflect variations in overall S-IgE levels. Further studies are required to strengthen the biological and clinical implication of this novel finding.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Allergens / immunology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Hypersensitivity / epidemiology*
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Allergens
  • Immunoglobulin E