Relationship of dog- and cat-specific IgE and IgG4 levels to allergic symptoms on pet exposure

Mary Burnett, Ganesa Wegienka, Suzanne Havstad, Haejin Kim, Christine Cole Johnson, Dennis Ownby, Edward Zoratti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Environmental allergens may induce the generation of allergen-specific IgE (sIgE) and IgG4 (sIgG4). Some studies report an association of sIgG4 to protection against allergic symptoms after exposure to the relevant allergen. Objective: We examined the relationship of dog and cat sIgE and sIgG4 levels to self-reported allergic symptoms on pet contact. Methods: Participants 18 years of age in the Detroit Childhood Allergy Study cohort were asked whether they experienced symptoms on exposure to cats and dogs. Serum was assayed for cat and dog sIgE and sIgG4. Geometric means, ratios of cat and dog sIgE, sIgG4, and ratios of sIgG4/sIgE were compared between symptomatic and asymptomatic teens with the use of Wilcoxon rank sum tests. Ratios of sIgG4/sIgE, adjusted for presence of sIgE (≥ 0.35 kU/mL), were analyzed with logistic regression. Results: Data on 500 participants were analyzed. Compared with asymptomatic teens, teens symptomatic with cat exposure had higher cat sIgE, sIgG4, and lower ratio of sIgG4/sIgE. Teens symptomatic after dog exposure had higher dog sIgE levels and lower sIgG4/sIgE, but similar levels of sIgG4 compared with asymptomatic participants. Increasing cat and dog sIgG4/sIgE ratios were associated with a lower likelihood of reporting allergic symptoms (cat: adjusted odds ratio, 0.8; 95% CI, 0.6-0.9; dog: adjusted odds ratio, 0.8; 95% CI, 0.7-1.0). Conclusion: sIgG4 levels to cat and dog allergens correlate with lower rates of pet-induced allergic symptoms when interpreted in the context of concomitant sIgE. However, sIgG4 appears to have little utility as an isolated marker to indicate that pet exposure will be well tolerated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)350-353
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • AOR
  • Allergy
  • CAS
  • GM
  • Protection
  • SIgE
  • SIgE antibody
  • SIgG
  • SIgG/IgE ratio
  • Tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy


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