IgE antibodies to Pityrosporum orbiculare and Staphylococcus aureus in patients with very high serum total IgE


Dr S. L. Nordvall, Department of Paediatrics, St Göran's Children's Hospital, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.


Serum IgE antibodies were detected with the radioallergosorbent test (RAST) to a panel of allergens which included Pityrosporum orbiculare, Candida albicans, Trichophyton rubrum, Cladosporium herbarum, Staphylococcus aureus, animal dander, deciduous tree pollens, grass pollens and foods in 81 consecutive patients with total IgE ≥ 3000 kU/1. Data on atopic and infectious disease characteristics were collected by a questionnaire. IgE antibody concentrations to P. orbiculare were significantly higher than to the other fungi and of the same magnitude as those to animal danders and pollens. High levels of P. orbiculare IgE antibodies were associated with current eczema, especially when it was the only atopic manifestation and demanding specialist care. IgE antibodies to P. orbiculare had the best explanatory value for current eczema in logistic regression analysis. Head-neck-face dermatitis was also associated with high levels of specific IgE to the yeast. IgE antibodies to S. aureus were detected in few patients and at low concentrations. Six patients had a history of systemic staphylococcal infections and presented a clinical picture, which was very similar to the hyperimmunoglobulinaemia E syndrome. Among the six were the two cases with the highest levels of IgE antibodies to S. aureus. The demonstration of high levels of IgE antibodies to P. orbiculare, which is a major part of human normal skin microflora, suggests that allergy to this yeast plays an important pathogenic role in eczema.