Background It is about 20 years since IgE measurements were published for children without atopic disease. It is possible that the recent increase in atopic disease is reflected in altered measurements in subjects who have no clinical expression of atopy. If the measurement of IgE is to be used as a marker for atopy to characterize disease categories, contemporary normative data must be available.
Objective To measure total serum IgE in healthy children of three ethnicities born and living in an inner city environment.
Methods Subjects were aged 1 to ≤ 12 years, of Afro-Caribbean, Bangladeshi and white British ethnicities, with no personal history of current atopic disease. An extra 1 mL of blood for the measurement of total serum IgE was collected when blood was taken for other purposes or when a surgical procedure was being undertaken.
Results Measurements were taken from 151 boys (median age 5.4 years) and 106 girls (median age 6.0 years), who included 127 Bangladeshis, 58 Afro-Caribbeans and 72 white British children. Measurements increased with age but were not related to gender or ethnicity. The data were significantly higher than previous measurements by sixfold.
Conclusion These contemporary normative data allow the generation of z scores for total IgE measurements for clinical or epidemiological use.