We evaluated atopy-associated parameters in 1099 people (aged 6-84 years) from families with history for atopy. All were tested for serum total immunoglobulin E (IgE) and allergen sensitivity by skin prick test. Specific IgE tests were done in randomly selected families. There was a decline with age in serum total IgE values, and relative atopy "incidence rates" were slightly lower among those older than 60 years. However, there was no change with age in sensitivity or severity of atopy. Among those sensitized to ragweed (Ambrosia artemisilfolia), there was no age-associated change in IgE levels specific to Amb a 1, a major allergen extracted from ragweed, and no change in the binding affinity of IgE for the Amb a 1 allergen. Among families with atopic histories, the underlying atopic mechanisms are particularly robust, and the atopic propensity remains into advanced age. In addition, established atopic responses may be focused in an immune system compartment either independent of or minimally influenced by T-cell activity.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Journals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences|
|State||Published - Feb 1 2003|