Patterns of quantitative food-specific IgE-antibodies and reported food hypersensitivity in 4-year-old children

Authors

  • E. Östblom,

    1. Department of Pediatrics, Sachs’ Children’s Hospital, Stockholm
    2. Department of Clinical Science and Education, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm
    3. Centre for Allergy Research, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm
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  • G. Lilja,

    1. Department of Pediatrics, Sachs’ Children’s Hospital, Stockholm
    2. Department of Clinical Science and Education, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm
    3. Centre for Allergy Research, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm
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  • S. Ahlstedt,

    1. Centre for Allergy Research, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm
    2. National Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm
    3. Phadia AB, Uppsala
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  • M. Van Hage,

    1. Centre for Allergy Research, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm
    2. Clinical Immunology and Allergy Unit, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet and University Hospital, Stockholm
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  • M. Wickman

    1. Department of Pediatrics, Sachs’ Children’s Hospital, Stockholm
    2. Centre for Allergy Research, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm
    3. National Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm
    4. Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, Stockholm County Council, Stockholm, Sweden
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Eva Östblom, MD
Department of Pediatrics
Sachs’ Children’s Hospital
S – 118 83 Stockholm
Sweden

Abstract

Background:  Diagnosis of food hypersensitivity (FHS) is difficult and interpretation of food allergy tests is complicated.

Objective:  To investigate the probability of reported FHS in relation to levels of food-specific IgE-antibodies (AB) in a population-based setting of 4-year-old children (n = 2336).

Methods:  Information on FHS was obtained from a questionnaire and specific IgE-AB to milk, egg, fish, peanut, soy and wheat were analysed.

Results:  Thirty-one per cent of the children with reported FHS (n = 284) were sensitized (≥0.35 kUA/l) to at least one of the tested foods compared with 11% of children without FHS (n = 2052). Furthermore, the probability of reported symptoms to milk, egg and fish increased with increasing levels of food-specific IgE-AB to the same food allergens. A similar trend was seen for peanut and wheat, but not for soy. Increasing levels of specific IgE-AB to milk or egg were also associated with an increasing risk of reported symptoms caused by other foods.

Conclusions:  Quantitative measurements of IgE-AB to milk, egg and fish are useful to evaluate IgE-associated FHS in preschool children also in a population based sample. Such measurements appear to be of limited value for soy bean and wheat, in particular as a screening method.

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