A Low IgE level

A Low IgE level: Overview

IgE stands for immunoglobulin E, one of the classes of immunoglobulins (also called antibodies) that are in the blood.  The protective role of IgE is not clear.

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The 'low', 'normal' and 'high' ranges vary with age, and are also lab-specific.  However, a reasonable normal range is 0.002-0.2mg/dl.

Causes and Development

Low levels of IgE can occur in a rare inherited disease that affects muscle coordination (ataxia-telangiectasia).  It is frequently increased in parasitic infestations and atopic individuals.

A high level of IgE can indicate a parasite infection.  Also, high levels of IgE are found in people who have allergic reactions, asthma, atopic dermatitis, some types of cancer, and certain autoimmune diseases.  Rarely, a high level of IgE may indicate IgE multiple myeloma.

Diagnosis and Tests

IgE myeloma is extremely rare and should be sought after abnormal protein electrophoresis (restriction) and/or abnormal kappa/lambda ratio unexplained by IgG, IgA, or IgM.  The principal limitation of this test is the wide overlapping range of IgE values between atopic and non-atopic disease states.  IgE is elevated 4-30 times normal in various diseases, among which atopic disorders and parasitic disorders are most prominent.

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