Background Many environmental factors influence the concentration of total serum IgE (tIgE); however, tIgE synthesis is believed to be under strong genetic influence. Multiple genetic studies on tIgE regulation have been performed. For these population-based studies tIgE was commonly determined at one time-point, assuming that tIgE phenotypes (adjusted for age and gender) are stable over time.
Objective We assessed correlations of tIgE levels from birth to the age of 10 years in the birth cohort MAS (Multicenter Allergy Study; n=1314).
Materials and methods We determined cord-blood IgE levels, total and specific IgE at the age of 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 10 years. Spearman correlation coefficients were calculated for tIgE at different time-points. All analyses were performed in the entire cohort, adjusted for gender, as well as in non-atopic children only.
Results tIgE percentiles increased steadily from birth to the age of 10 years with higher values for boys than for girls at each time-point. tIgE values from birth to 3 years of age correlated poorly with tIgE levels at 10 years (r<0.5). However, good correlations (r>0.8) were observed for tIgE concentrations at 6, 7 and 10 years. The same results were observed when the analyses were limited to non-atopic children.
Conclusion In childhood, tIgE levels underlie remarkable variation over time even in the absence of atopy. For cross-sectional population-based genetic and epidemiologic studies, tIgE values of children <5 years should be interpreted with caution since these values correlate poorly with tIgE levels later in life.
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