IgE antibodies in relation to prevalence and multimorbidity of eczema, asthma, and rhinitis from birth to adolescence

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Eczema, asthma, and rhinitis affect a large proportion of children, but their prevalence varies with age. IgE antibodies are also common in the pediatric population. However, the links between IgE, disease, and trajectories are unclear.


To better understand the links between sensitization and disease, we studied IgE sensitization ever in relation to eczema, asthma, and rhinitis, in children followed up to 16 years of age.


From the Swedish population-based birth cohort BAMSE, 2607 children were included. Parental reports from six time points between 1 and 16 years were used to identify children with eczema, asthma, and rhinitis. Blood was collected at 4, 8, and 16 years, and sensitization ever was defined as allergen-specific IgE ≥0.35 kUA/l to common food and/or inhalant allergens at any time point. Odds ratios for eczema, asthma, rhinitis, and multimorbidity in relation to sensitization ever were calculated using generalized estimating equations.


Fifty-one percent were sensitized at least once up to 16 years. Almost a quarter of ever-sensitized children did not have any disease. After adjustment for potential confounders, sensitization ever was significantly associated with the following: (i) eczema throughout childhood, (ii) multimorbidity of eczema, asthma, and rhinitis from 1 to 16 years (OR for multimorbidity: 5.11, 95% CI: 3.99–6.55), (iii) asthma and rhinitis from 4 to 16 years of age.


Specific IgE is strongly associated with eczema and allergic multimorbidity throughout childhood and with asthma and rhinitis from age 4 years. However, 23% of the children with IgE sensitization do not develop any disease in childhood.

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