Skin Testing Is Useful in Assessing Aeroallergen Sensitization in IgE Deficient Patients with Environmental Allergy-Like Symptoms

Barrie Cohen, Yasmine Oprea, David Rosenstreich, Denisa Ferastraoaru

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: The value of aeroallergen skin testing is not known in IgE deficient individuals (IgE<2.5 kU/L). Objective: To investigate the utility of skin prick (SPT), intradermal skin testing (IDST) and measuring serum specific IgE (ssIgE) in IgE deficient patients presenting with environmental allergy-like symptoms. Methods: Individuals with IgE deficiency who had both SPT and IDST performed between 2010 to 2020 were matched (age and gender) to three different groups of non-IgE deficient patients with IgE≥2.5 kU/L (normal IgE [2.5 ≤ IgE<100], high IgE [100≤IgE<1000] and very high IgE levels [≥1000 kU/L]) who also had skin testing performed for evaluation of environmental allergy-like symptoms. Results: Among 34 IgE deficient patients who completed SPT and IDST, 52.9% (18/34) had at least one positive skin test (4 ± 3 positive tests/patient), compared with 91.2% in those with normal, 94.1% with high or 97.1% with very high IgE levels (p < 0.01). In contrast, only one of the IgE deficient patients had detectable ssIgE, while ssIgE levels were significantly higher in all other IgE subgroups. Allergic immunotherapy was prescribed for 22.2% of the IgE-deficient patients with positive skin tests, similar to those with normal (2/31, 6.5%, p = 0.21), high IgE (9/32, 28.1%, p = 0.25) and very high IgE levels (8/33, 23.5%, p = 0.07), with similar efficacy in their symptoms control. Conclusion: Individuals with IgE deficiency may present with environmental allergy-like symptoms. A combination of SPT and IDST is useful for diagnosing aeroallergen sensitizations in these patients, indicating the presence of skin mast cell-bound IgE in some of these individuals, despite very low serum IgE levels. Further studies are needed to assess the exact significance of positive skin tests and the benefits of immunotherapy in this group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-458
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Rhinology and Allergy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • absent serum igE
  • allergen immunotherapy
  • allergic rhinitis
  • environmental allergy-like symptoms
  • igE
  • igE deficiency
  • intradermal skin testing
  • mast cell bound-igE
  • serum specific igE
  • skin prick testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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