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Volume 49, Number 1, February 2016

Correlation of ovalbumin of egg white components with allergic diseases in children 

Yang-Te Lin, Chih-Te Wu, Jing-Long Huang, Ju-Hui Cheng, Kuo-Wei Yeh


Corresponding author:

Kuo-Wei Yeh
Corresponding author. Division of Pediatric Allergy, Asthma and Rheumatology, Department of Pediatrics, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital at Linkuo and Chang Gung University, 5 Fu-Hsin Street, Taoyuan, Taiwan. 


Background and purpose: 

Immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated food allergy, such as egg white allergy, is common in young children (<3 years old), but not all young children sensitive to egg white present with allergic symptoms. This study investigated the relationship between sensitization to egg white component allergens and clinical manifestations of allergic diseases in young children. 



From March to December 2010, 2256 children with physician-diagnosed allergic diseases were tested for serum levels of egg white, ovalbumin, and ovomucoid-specific IgE in the Pediatric Allergy and Asthma Center of Chang Gung Memorial Hospital. Serum was analyzed for specific IgE antibodies to egg white, ovalbumin, and ovomucoid by ImmunoCAP (Phadia, Uppsala, Sweden). Allergen-specific IgE levels ≥0.35 kUA/L were defined as positive. 



There was a significantly higher sensitization rate to egg white and its components in children aged 2–4 years old. The sensitization rate to egg white, ovalbumin, and ovomucoid in this age group was 53.5%, 48.3%, and 37.2%, respectively, and the trend of the sensitization decreased with age (p < 0.001). After adjusting for age, sensitization to egg white and ovalbumin was associated with children with dermatitis [egg white: odds ratio (OR) = 1.28, 95% confidence intervals (CI) = 1.03–1.58, p < 0.05; ovalbumin: OR = 1.30, 95% CI = 1.04–1.62, p < 0.05]. Children with ovomucoid sensitization had no statistically significant risk among different groups in the current study. 



Children aged 2–4 years old have higher sensitivity to egg white, ovalbumin, and ovomucoid. Children with egg white and ovalbumin sensitization have a higher risk for atopic dermatitis, and ovalbumin has a more important contribution. Furthermore, we suggested that in children with atopic dermatitis, if they are aged 2–4 years old and are having egg white and ovalbumin sensitization, avoiding eating raw or slightly heated eggs might have a beneficial effect. 


Key words:

Allergen component, Egg white, Sensitization