Serum IgE levels in patients with human immunodeficiency virus infection

Catherine B. Small, Joseph P. McGowan, Robert S. Klein, Steven M. Schnipper, C. J. Chang, David L. Rosenstreich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Increased serum IgE levels are associated with advanced HIV infection. The magnitude of the increase has varied greatly between studies which generally did not assess potential confounding factors. Objective: To determine whether the increased serum IgE levels reported with HIV infection is affected by demographic or behavioral factors, we studied injection drug users, women, and minority ethnic and racial groups with HIV infection, for whom little data now exist. Methods: A prospective cross-sectional study of ambulatory patients with or at risk for HIV infection was performed. We enrolled 83 injection drug users and 56 non-drug users seropositive for HIV and 43 seronegative at-risk individuals from an Infectious Diseases clinic and a longitudinal study of HIV infection in injection drug users in the Bronx, New York City. Fifteen HIV-seronegative non-atopic controls were also studied. Total serum IgE levels were measured by a solid phase fluorescent assay and lymphocyte phenotypes were measured by monoclonal antibodies. Results: On multiple linear regression analysis, HIV infection (P = .01) and advanced HIV disease (P ≤ .01) were independently associated with increased serum IgE levels, controlling for gender, race, age, and use of injection drugs. In both HIV-seronegative and seropositive individuals, female gender was independently associated with lower IgE levels (P ≤ .001). We did not find an independent effect of race or injection drug use on IgE levels. Conclusions: Increased serum IgE levels were associated with HIV infection, the highest levels existing in those with advanced HIV disease. Women had lower IgE levels than men, independent of HIV status. Active or past drug use, race, and age were not found to be independently associated with serum IgE levels. Further studies are necessary to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the increased serum IgE levels seen with HIV infection and its associated immunodeficiency, and to substantiate and explore the decreased levels found in women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-80
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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