Serum total and specific IgE levels in children infected with human immunodeficiency virus

Angelos Koutsonikolis, Robert P. Nelson, Enrique Fernandez-Caldas, Emerita N. Brigino, Mitchell Seleznick, Robert A. Good, Richard F. Lockey

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34 Scopus citations


Background: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is associated with polyclonal B-cell activation, and elevated IgE levels are found in infected adults. Chronic nasal symptoms, sinusitis, and otitis media are particularly common in children infected with HIV. The possible allergic cause of nasal symptoms in children infected with HIV has not been explored. Objective: The study was designed to evaluate the relationship between HIV infection and IgE levels in a group of children infected with HIV. Methods: Total serum IgE was measured by enzyme immunoassay and compared with values for age-matched normal subjects. Specific IgE was determined by RAST test to Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, American cockroach. Bahia grass, short ragweed, cat, and oak. Lymphocyte subpopulations were determined by standard flow cytometry. Results: Fifty-seven total IgE and 342 specific IgE levels were determined from 29 infected children (19 girls and 10 boys; ages, 7 to 150 months; mean age, 49 months). Initial IgE levels of 29 subjects ranged from 1.4 to 787.6 IU/ml (mean = 123.4 ± 34.4 IU/ml). Nine of 29 (31%) subjects had initial IgE levels greater than two standard deviations higher than age-matched normal subjects. No patients had detectable specific IgE to any of the six aeroallergens. There was no correlation, as determined by linear regression analysis, between IgE levels and absolute CD4 number or CD4:CD8. Conclusion: Elevated total but not specific IgE is common in children infected with HIV and does not correlate with absolute CD4 lymphocyte count, suggesting that the elevated IgE level reflects a somewhat independent polyclonal activation of B lymphocytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)692-697
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • IgE
  • pediatric HIV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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    Koutsonikolis, A., Nelson, R. P., Fernandez-Caldas, E., Brigino, E. N., Seleznick, M., Good, R. A., & Lockey, R. F. (1996). Serum total and specific IgE levels in children infected with human immunodeficiency virus. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 97(2), 692-697.