• allergen;
  • children;
  • IgE sensitization;
  • low levels

To cite this article: Söderström L, Lilja G, Borres MP, Nilsson C. An explorative study of low levels of allergen-specific IgE and clinical allergy symptoms during early childhood. Allergy 2011; 66: 1058–1064.


Background:  Early identification of children at risk for later development of allergic disease is essential for early intervention and initiation of proper treatment and management.

Objective:  To investigate the relationship between low levels (0.1–0.7 kUA/l) of IgE sensitization to food and inhalant allergens and symptoms of eczema, rhinitis, and asthma from birth to 5 years of age.

Methods:  Children (268) were followed prospectively from birth to 5 years of age with physical examinations and measurements of s-IgE at 6, 12, 24, and 60 months of age.

Results:  Seventy-four percent of the children with low levels of s-IgE to egg and/or milk at the age of 6 months were still sensitized to one or more allergens at age 2 years. Eighty-four percent of the children with low levels of s-IgE to any of the studied allergens at 12 months of age were still sensitized at age 5. The low levels of egg and milk s-IgE also significantly increased the risk for eczema at the same age and also increased the risk for eczema at 2 years of age.

Conclusion:  Low levels of s-IgE can be detected from the age of 6 months and are related to further IgE sensitization. The low levels seem to be of importance for both the association to present symptoms and for prediction of future allergic symptoms, especially eczema during early infancy. A detectable s-IgE level, albeit low, could be a clear signal that the immune system is alerted and should be followed.