Immunoglobulin E (IgE)

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Subject: Immunoglobulin E (IgE)

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Definition

  • IgE mediates allergic and hypersensitivity reactions. There is a significant overlap in total IgE between allergic and nonallergic individuals. Measurement of total IgE is not very useful as a standalone screen for allergy disease.

  • Normal values: see Table 16.42.

 
TABLE 16–42
Normal Values for IgE by Age

Use

  • For allergy testing; IgE antibodies and skin tests are essentially interchangeable.

  • Indicates various parasitic diseases.

  • Diagnosis of E-myeloma.

  • Diagnosis of bronchopulmonary aspergillosis; a normal serum IgE level excludes the diagnosis.

Interpretation

Increased In

  • Atopic diseases

    • Exogenous asthma in approximately 60% of patients

    • Hay fever in approximately 30% of patients

    • Atopic eczema

  • Influenced by type of allergen, duration of stimulation, presence of symptoms, and hyposensitization treatment

  • Parasitic diseases (e.g., ascariasis, visceral larva migrans, hookworm disease, schistosomiasis, Echinococcus infestation)

  • Monoclonal IgE myeloma

Decreased In

  • Hereditary deficiencies

  • Acquired immunodeficiency

  • Ataxia–telangiectasia

  • Non-IgE myeloma

Normal In

  • Asthma

Limitations

  • A normal level of IgE in serum does not eliminate the possibility of allergic disease.

 
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