Dynamics and balance of allergen specific IgE, IgG4 and IgA binding may contribute to the development of tolerance in cow's milk allergy. Profiling of antibody binding to cow's milk protein epitopes may help in predicting natural history of allergy.
To investigate differences in IgE, IgG4 and IgA binding to cow's milk epitopes over time between patients with early recovery or with persisting cow's milk allergy.
We studied serum samples at the time of diagnosis (mean age 7 months), one year later and at follow-up (mean age 8.6 years) from 11 patients with persisting IgE-mediated cow's milk allergy at age 8-9 years, and 12 patients who recovered by age 3 years. We measured the binding of IgE, IgG4 and IgA antibodies to sequential epitopes derived from five major cow's milk proteins with a peptide microarray-based immunoassay. We analyzed the data with a novel image processing method together with machine learning prediction.
IgE epitope binding patterns were stable over time in patients with persisting cow's milk allergy, whereas binding decreased in patients who recovered early. Binding patterns of IgE and IgG4 overlapped. Among patients who recovered early, the signal of IgG4 binding increased while that of IgE decreased over time. IgE and IgG4 binding to a panel of αs1-, αs2-, β-and κ-casein regions predicted outcome with significant accuracy.
Attaining tolerance to cow's milk is associated with decreased epitope binding by IgE and a concurrent increase in corresponding epitope binding by IgG4.