Usefulness of specific IgE antibody tests: a progress report

Posted on: Mon, 04/05/2004 - 11:30am
ajinnj's picture
Joined: 05/13/2003 - 09:00

This article is from this month's Annals of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology. Unfortunately you cannot access the journal without a subscription.


Usefulness of specific IgE antibody tests: a progress report
[CME Review article]
Williams, P Brock PhD

University of Missouri Medical School, Kansas City, Missouri, and University of Cincinnati Medical School, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Supported by an unrestricted grant from AstraZeneca LP
Received for publication February 10, 2003.
Accepted for publication in revised form June 4, 2003.
Requests for reprints should be addressed to: P. Brock Williams, PhD; 11840 Woodland Rd; Olathe, KS 66061; E-mail: [email][/email]


Learning Objectives: To enable the readers to recognize some of the history, problems, progress, interpretation, and present status of assays for specific IgE (s-IgE) antibodies.

Data Sources: Peer-reviewed literature in the field.

Study Selection: Key articles were selected by the author.

Results: Clinical and analytical studies have differed widely in their conclusions as to the performance of tests for s-IgE. Study conclusions depend on the testing method used, the allergen(s) studied, patient selection, and, most importantly, the standards used for comparison. Today, only a handful of the once commercially developed assays still exist, and some of these still do not compare well to an analytical ideal standard. However, with the extent of regulation and economic pressures, most of the surviving s-IgE tests are considerably improved over what had existed before them.

Conclusions: Allergic diseases with multiple symptom patterns seem to be increasing in modern societies. Objective methods are needed to differentiate allergic origins from other mechanisms that cause similar symptoms. Accurate, quantitative, and objective methods for s-IgE measurement are now available and can be used effectively in clarifying allergic diagnoses when interpreted in conjunction with the clinical history.


Largenumbers of anecdotal reports in the medical literature indicate that specific factors in the serum are largely responsible for allergic symptoms. This article aims to enable readers to recognize some of the history, problems, progress, interpretation, and present status of assays for specific IgE (s-IgE) antibodies. Key articles were selected from the peer-reviewed literature in the field. This article includes a short history of how and why s-IgE assays were developed, the origin and explanation of several controversies in this field, and where these tests stand today. In addition, a review and update of test result interpretation with an emphasis of the advantages of treating patients with allergic disease using quantitative s-IgE tests are included.

History records a number of anecdotal reports that have reinforced the idea that specific factors in the serum are largely responsible for allergic symptoms, such as hay fever, asthma, and anaphylaxis. The classic Prausnitz-Kustner experiment (P-K reaction) and a series of follow-up experiments by De Besche in 1921 provided the first unequivocal proof of this. 1,2 The exact nature of this serum factor was elusive until the middle 1960s. At that time, a variety of studies had shown that the postulated

Posted on: Mon, 04/05/2004 - 11:44am
Gail W's picture
Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

Thank you.

Posted on: Mon, 04/05/2004 - 11:04pm
ajinnj's picture
Joined: 05/13/2003 - 09:00

For those of you who do not want to read the entire article, the "Interpretation" section (about 2/3 of the way down) talks about what the numbers mean and about its application for diagnosing food allergies.

Posted on: Mon, 04/05/2004 - 11:31pm
erik's picture
Joined: 05/15/2001 - 09:00

Hi Allison,
Thanks for posting the article... I plan to read it soon... it looks interesting [img][/img]

Posted on: Tue, 04/06/2004 - 6:23am
Nutternomore's picture
Joined: 08/02/2002 - 09:00

Thanks for posting! [img][/img]

Posted on: Thu, 04/08/2004 - 12:54am
jtolpin's picture
Joined: 05/28/2003 - 09:00

Because of space limitations, all relevant studies in this field could not be cited. I apologize for any omissions. Comments regarding this article should be addressed to people with names such as Talmadge, Farr, Claman, DeWitt, Selner, Nelson, Sullivan, and Norman, whose addresses can be found in the list of great mentors.
I have one comment only...
Can those aforementioned people explain this to me, because trying to read this is giving me a throbbing headache. [img][/img]

More Community Posts

Peanut Free and Nut Free Community

create a new community post
Latest Post by absfabs Fri, 11/15/2019 - 5:32pm
Comments: 2
Latest Post by Italia38 Tue, 11/12/2019 - 2:43pm
Comments: 2
Latest Post by absfabs Mon, 11/11/2019 - 1:23pm
Comments: 3
Latest Post by Italia38 Fri, 11/08/2019 - 12:10pm
Comments: 4
Latest Post by Italia38 Fri, 11/08/2019 - 11:47am
Comments: 6
Latest Post by sunshinestate Thu, 11/07/2019 - 3:43pm
Comments: 4
Latest Post by sunshinestate Thu, 11/07/2019 - 2:48pm
Comments: 7
Latest Post by penelope Tue, 11/05/2019 - 3:44pm
Comments: 12
Latest Post by penelope Tue, 11/05/2019 - 3:35pm
Comments: 13
Latest Post by absfabs Tue, 11/05/2019 - 2:11pm
Comments: 6
Latest Post by absfabs Tue, 11/05/2019 - 2:09pm
Comments: 5
Latest Post by chicken Tue, 11/05/2019 - 12:06pm
Comments: 5
Latest Post by sunshinestate Mon, 11/04/2019 - 1:44pm
Comments: 3
Latest Post by sunshinestate Thu, 10/31/2019 - 11:20am
Comments: 2

More Articles

For people who suffer from anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can result from an allergy to...

Anaphylactic shock (A-nuh-fih-LAK-tik shok): A severe and sometimes life-threatening immune system reaction to an antigen that a person has been...

In 1963 the American Medical Association designed a special symbol that would alert emergency medical personnel of special medical conditions when...

Finding allergy-free foods for an office potluck may seem impossible, but more options are available than you might think. Eating foods prepared...

One of the most difficult things for a parent to do is determine whether his or her toddler has a cold or a...

More Articles

More Articles

You no doubt have your own way of teaching people about your child’s food allergy, a way that suits your temperament, and style of communication....

Reliable peanut allergy statistics are not that easy to come by. There is a lot of available research on food allergies in general but not too...

Most people know that to enjoy whatever food safety accommodations an airline offers they need to inform the airline of their allergy prior to...

A 504 plan* documents food allergy accommodations agreed to by parents and their child’s school. Plans are typically created during a 504 meeting...

If there is a child at your children's school allergic to peanuts, the school probably discourages or may not allow peanut products to be brought...

If you are on a budget, but you need to wear some sort of notification that you have a peanut...

Unless we consciously carve out time for self-care, constant food allergy management can slowly erode our sense of well-being. Signs of allergy-...

Peanuts cause more severe food allergic reactions than other foods, followed by shellfish, fish, tree nuts and eggs. Although there is only a...

If you avoid peanuts, it’s likely you know the joy of cashews. Slightly sweet and smooth in texture, cashews provide not only relief to those with...

The prevalence of food allergy has dramatically increased over the past two to three decades, and not just among children. Preliminary results...

When someone in the family is diagnosed with a food allergy, a choice must be made whether to ban the problem food or foods from the home. The...

Looking for a fun way to share what you know about your own food allergies? Or are you hoping to educate the people around you in a fun way about...

According to the results of a new study, children lacking Vitamin D may be more susceptible to food allergies. Researchers working at the Albert...

If you or your child has a peanut or nut allergy, identifying the presence of nuts in food becomes a priority, but what if the written or spoken...

Soap allergies can cause a lot of discomfort and itching. If you suddenly develop a rash or bumps on your skin, you may suspect that you have an...