• anti-IgE;
  • assay;
  • atopic;
  • autoantibody;
  • children;
  • cord serum;
  • filariasis;
  • IgA;
  • IgE

The prevalence and specificity of naturally occurring human IgA anti-IgE autoantibodies (a-E Ab) were studied by ELISA with anti-IgA monoclonal antibodies (mAb) and a purified myeloma IgE as solid-phase protein, i.e., IgE-DES(κ). Such detected IgA a-E Ab were common among adults, and significantly increased geometric means (GM) were found in patients with atopy (P= 0.006; n= 41; GM = 79.3 arbitrary units (AU)/ml) and filariasis (P= 0.02; n= 41; GM = 75.9 AU/ml), as compared with nonatopic controls (n= 42; GM = 48.8 AU/ml). No such difference was observed between age-matched nonatopic (n= 22; GM = 36.7 AU/ml) and atopic (n= 22; GM = 38.6 AU/ml) children. Children had significantly (P= 0.001) lower IgA a-E Ab concentrations than adults, probably as a result of age, because IgA a-E Ab concentrations and age of children were significantly correlated (n= 44; P<0.05; rs= 0.30). IgA a-E Ab concentrations were very low in cord serum (n= 32; median <0.1 AU/ml). Sex did not influence IgA a-E Ab concentrations in any study group. The specificity of IgA a-E Ab in nine sera was studied by ELISA inhibition assay using IgE-DES myeloma as solid-phase protein and inhibitory proteins of the IgG, IgM, IgD, and IgE classes, including five different IgE myeloma proteins, as well as three enzymatic fragments of IgE-DES. The inhibitions indicated that all IgA a-E Ab tested reacted in a low-affinity reaction with determinants restricted to IgE-DES, i.e., the solid-phase protein. These epitopes were heat-resistant (2 h; 56°C) and located in the Fabɛ-DES fragment. No isotype-specific IgA a-E Ab were found because none of the four other IgE proteins were inhibitory. Subclass typing indicated that most IgA a-E Ab belonged to the IgA 1 subclass. It is unlikely, for reasons of restricted specificity, low affinity, and common prevalence, that such IgA 1 a-E Ab are connected with IgE-mediated disorders. The study also raises questions on the definition of anti-IgE antibodies.