Component resolved diagnostic study of cow's milk allergy in infants and young children in northern China

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Increasing dairy consumption in China has been accompanied by rising incidence of milk allergy. Here we analyzed profiles of specific immunoglobulin E (sIgE) against cow's milk proteins, and assessed their value for milk allergy diagnosis among infants and young children from northern China.


Sera collected from 48 patients with milk allergy and 27 negative control subjects was analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to measure sIgE to α-lactalbumin (Bos d 4), β-lactoglobulin (Bos d 5), α-casein (Bos d 9), β-casein (Bos d 11), and κ-casein (Bos d 12).


Among milk-allergic individuals, most were sensitized to at least one milk protein; about half were sensitized to Bos d 5, Bos d 9, Bos d 11 and Bos d 12, respectively, while few had positive serum sIgE against Bos d 4. Bos d 12 sIgE had the largest area under curve (AUC) (0.878; 95% CI, 0.800–0.957) and thus showed the best diagnostic performance in discriminating between milk-allergic and non-milk allergic patients, with a sensitivity of 92.6% and specificity of 72.9% using a statistically optimal cut-off value (OD450nm, 0.191). The combinations of Bos d 5 + Bos d 12 showed an AUC of 0.926, which was larger than for any individual components.


Our results revealed inter-individual variation in the sensitization to different milk allergen component. Bos d 12 sIgE showed best performance in diagnosing milk allergy. Milk allergy diagnostic accuracy was further improved using combinations of milk allergen components by application of ROC curves based on logistic regression.

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