Background: Sensitization to food allergens is a common condition in pediatric atopic dermatitis (AD). Recently, the multiple allergen simultaneous test (MAST) allowing for a comprehensive assessment of atopy has been developed, but the usefulness in young AD children is not known. The aim of this study was to determine IgE specificity in AD children using MAST and to compare the results for selected food allergens with the reference ImmunoCap system.
Methods: The study enrolled 50 children up to 2 years old with a diagnosis of AD. IgE antibodies were measured with the MAST-immunoblots. Children with specific IgE levels ≥ 0.35 kU/L were identified as sensitized to allergens.
Results: Most often children were sensitized to food allergens (egg white and yolk, hazelnuts, potato, cow’s milk proteins, wheat flour, codfish, and soybean), but a high percentage of them also had IgE antibodies against house dust mites (12%), grass (10%), and birch (10%). Eight percent of children were sensitized to domestic animals (cats and dogs). Almost perfect (kappa index 0.8 - 1.0) and substantial (kappa index 0.6 - 0.8) agreement between MAST and ImmunoCap was found for food allergens except codfish. Pearson’s analysis of antibody classes showed a very strong correlation between two methods (r = 0.8 - 1.0) for egg white, hazelnuts, potato, cow’s milk proteins, wheat flour, and soybean, and a strong correlation (r = 0.6 - 0.79) was observed for peanut, egg yolk, and codfish.
Conclusions: The study showed the frequent occurrence of IgE antibodies against food and airborne and animal allergens in young AD children and confirmed the usefulness of MAST-immunoblots for screening of sensitization in pediatric patients.