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Patterns of quantitative food-specific IgE-antibodies and reported food hypersensitivity in 4-year-old children

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Background: 

Diagnosis of food hypersensitivity (FHS) is difficult and interpretation of food allergy tests is complicated. Objective: 

To investigate the probability of reported FHS in relation to levels of food-specific IgE-antibodies (AB) in a population-based setting of 4-year-old children (n = 2336). Methods: 

Information on FHS was obtained from a questionnaire and specific IgE-AB to milk, egg, fish, peanut, soy and wheat were analysed. Results: 

Thirty-one per cent of the children with reported FHS (n = 284) were sensitized (≥0.35 kUA/l) to at least one of the tested foods compared with 11% of children without FHS (n = 2052). Furthermore, the probability of reported symptoms to milk, egg and fish increased with increasing levels of food-specific IgE-AB to the same food allergens. A similar trend was seen for peanut and wheat, but not for soy. Increasing levels of specific IgE-AB to milk or egg were also associated with an increasing risk of reported symptoms caused by other foods. Conclusions: 

Quantitative measurements of IgE-AB to milk, egg and fish are useful to evaluate IgE-associated FHS in preschool children also in a population based sample. Such measurements appear to be of limited value for soy bean and wheat, in particular as a screening method.
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Keywords: BAMSE; children; food allergy; food hypersensitivity; immunoglobulin E

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2008

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