Background: Selective IgE deficiency (SIgED) has been previously evaluated in selected patients from allergy units. This study investigates the effects of SIgED on the entire population in a hospital setting and sought to delineate in detail the clinical aspects of SIgED.
Methods: A retrospective study of the data obtained from electronic medical records of 52 adult patients (56% female) with a mean age of 43 years and IgE levels of <2.0 kU/L with normal immunoglobulin (Ig) IgG, IgA, and IgM levels, seen at our hospital, without selection bias, from 2010 to 2019.
Results: Recurrent upper respiratory infections were recorded in 18 (34.6%) patients, pneumonia was recorded in 16 (30.7%) patients, bronchiectasis was recorded in 16 (30.7%) patients, and asthma was recorded in 10 (19.2%) patients. Eighteen patients (34.6%) suffered autoimmune clinical manifestations either isolated (19%) or combining two or more diseases (15%), Hashimoto's thyroiditis being the most frequent (19%), which was followed by arthritis (10%) and thrombocytopenia and/or neutropenia (5.7%). Other less frequent associations were Graves' disease, primary sclerosing cholangitis, Sjögren's syndrome, and autoimmune hepatitis. Eczematous dermatitis (15.3%), chronic spontaneous urticaria (17.3%), and symptoms of enteropathy (21%) were also highly prevalent. Thirty percent of patients developed malignancies, with non-Hodgkin lymphomas (13.4%) being the most prevalent.
Conclusions: The clinical manifestations of SIgED encompass a variety of infectious, non-infectious complications, and malignancy. Since it cannot be ruled out that some type of selection bias occurred in the routine assessment of IgE serum Ievels, prospective studies are required to better characterize SIgED and to determine whether it should be added to the list of antibody deficiencies.
Keywords: Immunoglobulin E; Immunoglobulin deficiency; autoimmune diseases; infections; malignancy.