Measurement of specific IgE antibodies in nasal secretion—evidence for local production


Dr T. G. Merrett, RAST Allergy Unit, Benenden Chest Hospital, Benenden, Kent.


Serum levels of total and specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) have been determined by radioimmunoassays in sixty-nine allergic subjects. The forty-one subjects with mild symptoms were the most difficult to diagnose, since nine had IgE levels less than 50 U/ml and nineteen had no detectable specific IgE antibodies. Samples of nasal secretions were collected from these nineteen subjects and five were found to have specific IgE antibodies, and in a further eight increased amounts of total IgE. The possibility of locally produced IgE antibodies should therefore be considered when using in vitro tests to diagnose mild or recently acquired allergies, especially when serum IgE levels are less than 50 U/ml.