Ninety-eight sera of normal and hospitalized infants were tested for IgE antibodies against milk antigens. These antibodies were detected by the radioimmunodiffusion (RID) technique using rabbit anti-human IgE and prick tests of the skin.
Immunoglobulin E antibodies were found in seven out of twenty-six infants who were suspected of suffering from milk allergy. These antibodies were found also in one out of three coeliac patients and in two out of five suffering from recurrent aspiration. Other sera were negative. Most of the positive sera which were taken from milk allergic patients, reacted with beta-lactoglobulin. Positive results in skin tests were more frequent than those obtained in the RID technique.
Oral challenge tests with alpha-lactalbumin and bovine gamma-globulin caused clinical symptoms in allergic infants whose sera lacked detectable amounts of IgE antibodies to these antigens.
There was complete correlation between IgE type antibodies to beta-lactoglobulin and clinical symptoms after oral challenge in the six patients tested. Before definite conclusions can be drawn from this observation, however, more cases will have to be tested.
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