Relationship between serum IgE and airway responsiveness in adults with asthma

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1995 Mar;95(3):699-706. doi: 10.1016/s0091-6749(95)70175-3.


Background: General population studies have shown a relationship between total serum IgE levels and airway responsiveness, but this association has not been documented in patients with asthma.

Objective: The study assesses the cross-sectional relationship between IgE levels and airway responsiveness in 208 subjects who had had emergency department treatment for asthma at least 2 years earlier.

Methods: All participants completed a standardized respiratory questionnaire and underwent spirometry, allergy skin testing, and a dose-response methacholine challenge test.

Results: After adjusting for age and gender, the percentage of patients with asthma and airway responsiveness (provocative concentration causing a 20% fall in forced expiratory volume in 1 second [PC20] < or = 8 mg/ml) increased from 52% in the lower quintile of IgE to 72% in the upper quintile (p < 0.01). After adjusting for age, gender, baseline percent predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 second, and smoking, the association between IgE (both in quintiles and continuous) and PC20 appeared consistent and statistically significant (p < 0.01). This association was stronger in patients who were not given inhaled steroid (odds ratio for twice the concentration of IgE, 1.42; 95% confidence interval, 1.09 and 1.84), than in patients treated with inhaled steroid (odds ratio, 1.10; 95% confidence interval, 0.82 and 1.50). Eosinophilia and skin reactivity were associated with PC20 although to a lesser extent.

Conclusion: These findings strengthen the role played by IgE in facilitating the development of bronchial responsiveness in patients with asthma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Airway Obstruction / physiopathology
  • Asthma / immunology*
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Bronchial Provocation Tests
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood*
  • Male
  • Methacholine Chloride / administration & dosage
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin Tests


  • Methacholine Chloride
  • Immunoglobulin E