Half-life of IgE in serum and skin: Consequences for anti-IgE therapy in patients with allergic disease

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2017 Feb;139(2):422-428.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2016.04.056. Epub 2016 Jul 14.


We present results from clinical studies on plasma infusion done in the late 1970s in patients with hypogammaglobulinemia in which we documented the short half-life of both total and allergen-specific IgE in serum. The development of specific allergic sensitization in the skin of those patients followed by the gradual decrease in sensitization over 50 days was also documented. The data are included here along with a discussion of the existing literature about the half-life of IgE in both the circulation and skin. This rostrum reinterprets the earlier clinical studies in light of new insights and mechanisms that could explain the rapid removal of IgE from the circulation. These mechanisms have clinical implications that relate to the increasing use of anti-IgE mAbs for the treatment of allergic disease.

Keywords: IgE; Immunoglobulin; half-life; metabolism; omalizumab.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agammaglobulinemia / immunology
  • Agammaglobulinemia / therapy*
  • Allergens / immunology
  • Anti-Allergic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Proteins / metabolism
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Hypersensitivity / therapy*
  • Immunoglobulin E / metabolism
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Immunotherapy / trends
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Allergens
  • Anti-Allergic Agents
  • Antibodies, Anti-Idiotypic
  • Blood Proteins
  • anti-IgE antibodies
  • Immunoglobulin E