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Keywords:

  • allergy;
  • asthma;
  • basophil;
  • IgE;
  • IgG;
  • rhinitis

The synthesis of allergen-specific IgE is required for the development of allergic diseases including allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma (patients), but many individuals with allergen-specific IgE do not develop symptoms (asymptomatic subjects). Differences may exist between asymptomatic subjects and patients. Whether the presence of allergen-specific IgE translates into clinical allergy most likely depends on a complex interplay of multiple factors. These include a family history of atopy, the levels of total serum IgE and, allergen-specific IgE or IgG, epitope-specificity of IgE and their degree of polyclonality (mono- vs polysensitized), as yet unidentified serum factors, the balance of T regulatory cells (Treg) and Th1/Th2 cells, the polymorphisms of the high affinity receptor for IgE (FcɛRI) and other factors regulating the activation of FcɛRI-bearing cells. Asymptomatic subjects may be more often monosensitized than patients who may be more often polysensitized. There are many unanswered important questions that need to be addressed in order to better understand how IgE sensitization translates into clinical allergy. The assessment of differences between the asymptomatic and symptomatic groups of subjects represent one of the scientific programs of Global Allergy and Asthma European Network funded by the European Union and the hypotheses underlying these differences are presented in this paper.