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

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Abstract

Background:

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.

Objective:

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.

Methods:

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.

Results:

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.

Conclusions:

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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