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Laboratory Medicine

Test Directory / Specific IgE

Specific IgE

Brown clotted serum, gel barrier or lithium heparin

TestSpecific IgE
Common AbbreviationsSPE, RAST, SIgE
Tube typeBrown clotted serum, gel barrier or lithium heparin
Clinical IndicationAllergen-specific IgE testing is performed to screen for an allergy (type I hypersensitivity) to a specific substance or substances in response to acute or chronic allergy-like symptoms in the patient. Many allergies are mediated by immunoglobulins of the IgE class acting as points of contact between the allergen and specialized cells. The IgE molecules bind to the surface of mast cells and basophilic granulocytes. Subsequent binding of allergens to cell bound IgE causes these cells to release histamines and other vasoactive substances, thereby initiating the events which are recognised as an allergic reaction
Specimen TypeBlood
Sample typeSerum or plasma
Minimum Volume1ml for every 5 allergens requested.
Special PrecautionsNo special requirements
Stability7 days at 2-8°C and 6 months at -20°C
Turnaround Time7 days
LaboratoryThe majority of sIgE’s are analysed at York Hospital See download the document on ALLERGY TESTING. sIgE’s not tested at York are sent to the Protein Reference Unit in Sheffield for analysis.
Reference IntervalClass 0:<0.10-0.35 KUA/L, Class 1:0.35-0.70 KUA/L, Class 2:0.70-3.50 KUA/L, Class 3:3.50-17.5 KUA/L, Class 4:17.5-50 KUA/L, Class 5:50-100 KUA/L, Class 6:>100 KUA/L
LimitationsThe level of IgE present does not correlate to the severity of an allergic reaction, and where allergy has been outgrown a positive specific IgE may still be present. It is possible to have a positive specific IgE result to an antigen that is not a cause of allergy in the patient. It is essential that the results are interpreted alongside a full allergic history and any other tests that have been performed, such as skin prick tests.
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