Background: Eczema, asthma, and rhinitis affect a large proportion of children, but their prevalence varies with age. IgE antibodies are also common in the pediatric population. However, the links between IgE, disease, and trajectories are unclear.
Objective: To better understand the links between sensitization and disease, we studied IgE sensitization ever in relation to eczema, asthma, and rhinitis, in children followed up to 16 years of age.
Methods: From the Swedish population-based birth cohort BAMSE, 2607 children were included. Parental reports from six time points between 1 and 16 years were used to identify children with eczema, asthma, and rhinitis. Blood was collected at 4, 8, and 16 years, and sensitization ever was defined as allergen-specific IgE ≥0.35 kUA /l to common food and/or inhalant allergens at any time point. Odds ratios for eczema, asthma, rhinitis, and multimorbidity in relation to sensitization ever were calculated using generalized estimating equations.
Results: Fifty-one percent were sensitized at least once up to 16 years. Almost a quarter of ever-sensitized children did not have any disease. After adjustment for potential confounders, sensitization ever was significantly associated with the following: (i) eczema throughout childhood, (ii) multimorbidity of eczema, asthma, and rhinitis from 1 to 16 years (OR for multimorbidity: 5.11, 95% CI: 3.99-6.55), (iii) asthma and rhinitis from 4 to 16 years of age.
Conclusions: Specific IgE is strongly associated with eczema and allergic multimorbidity throughout childhood and with asthma and rhinitis from age 4 years. However, 23% of the children with IgE sensitization do not develop any disease in childhood.
Keywords: IgE; asthma; atopic dermatitis; epidemiology; rhinitis.
© 2015 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.