Background Total immunoglobulin E (IgE) is an important indicator of allergic disorders. However, its role in allergic patients in India has not been evaluated in relation to atopic status for a reference range as compared with healthy subjects.
Objective The aim of the study was to establish serum IgE levels in a diseased group, study its relationship with atopy, and to compare the same with healthy volunteers in Indian subjects.
Methods Four hundred and eighty asthmatics/allergic patients, 100 first-degree relatives of asthmatics, and 120 unrelated normal healthy volunteers from Delhi region were recruited for the study. Atopy was established by family history and skin test to common indigenous allergens and, total and specific IgE measurements. Statistical analysis was performed with the help of SPSS software program.
Results The mean IgE levels were the highest in asthmatic patients and the lowest in the control healthy group. IgE was significantly high in the male than the female healthy volunteers (P<0.05), but not in the diseased group. Prosopis juliflora among pollen allergens and Alternaria alternata among fungal allergens were important sensitizers in allergic patients with 34.7% and 17.7% skin positivity, respectively. Atopic status and asthma were found to be the best predictor of IgE, which was highly significant (r2=0.239, P<0.00001). However, at 95% confidence interval as many as 50% of asthmatic patients had their IgE values in the normal range.
Conclusion The IgE levels in Indian allergic patients is significantly related to atopy, but due to wide overlap of IgE levels in patients and healthy subjects, its diagnostic significance in Indian population seems to be limited.
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