Development of IgE to pollen and plant food allergens goes hand in hand

Published Online: October 25, 2013

We know that occurrence of serum allergy antibodies to common allergens increases during childhood, but information on development and co-occurrence of such antibodies from early childhood up to adolescence in large population samples is limited.

In a Letter to the Editor in The Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology (JACI), Wickman et al analyzed sera for the occurrence of allergy antibodies to 14 common airborne and food allergens in the same 1,699 children from a general population investigated at 4, 8, and 16 years of age in Sweden.

The authors found that between 4 and 16 years the overall occurrence of antibodies to common allergens increased from 25% to 48%. Of these children, and irrespective of age, around half had any allergy related diseases such as asthma, rhinitis, or eczema. Among children with allergy antibodies to allergens such as pollens and animal dander, only a few remitted with age. Surprisingly, the proportion of children with allergy antibodies to milk and egg did not decrease until after eight years. They also found that co-occurrence of allergy antibodies to pollens of leaf tree and grass, and such antibodies to peanut, soy or wheat gradually increased during the study period.

The authors’ findings suggest that development of allergy antibodies from childhood to adolescence is a dynamic process with a pattern not elucidated before, and also that in the population formation of allergy antibodies without co-occurrence of asthma, allergic rhinitis, or asthma is rather common. This dynamic process includes allergy antibodies to pollens which are of clinical relevancy and plant food allergens which may cross react to pollen allergens. This cross reaction of allergy antibodies to many plant food allergens may be without clinical relevance.  

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) is the official scientific journal of the AAAAI, and is the most-cited journal in the field of allergy and clinical immunology.

Close-up of pine tree branches in Winter Close-up of pine tree branches in Winter