Immunoglobulin E (IgE), Total

Additional Information:

UFHPL Epic order code: LAB4889

The concentration of IgE in serum of normal individuals typically represents <0.001% of the total immunoglobulins present.1,2 Immunoglobulins of the IgE class play an important role in mediating the atopic reactions that occur when sensitive individuals are exposed to allergens. IgE has a structure that is similar to other immunoglobulins in that it consists of four chains: two light chains and two heavy chains.1 The heavy chains for each IgE molecule contain a variable region that accounts for antigen specificity. Since IgE myeloma is extremely rare, the clinical utility of measuring IgE levels generally involves its role as the mediator of the allergic response. The majority of IgE molecules in serum are bound to the surface of mast cells and basophilic granulocytes. The interaction of allergens with the cell-bound allergen-specific IgE causes these cells to release histamines and other vasoactive substances, thereby initiating the allergic reaction. Approximately 50% of individuals with allergic rhinitis or asthma will have elevated levels of IgE;1 however, a large number of individuals with allergy and elevated levels of IgE to specific allergens will have normal levels of total IgE. Studies have indicated that total IgE levels are often elevated in patients with atopic dermatitis and the concentration of IgE tends to correlate with severity of eczema.1 Total IgE levels can also be elevated in patients with parasitic infections, allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, or immunodeficiency.1,2


  1. Dolen WK. The diagnostic allergy laboratory. In Rose NR, Hamilton RG, Detrick B, eds. Manual of Clinical Laboratory Immunology. 6th ed. Washington, DC: ASM Press; 2002:883-890.
  2. Zeiss RC, Pruzansky JJ. Immunology of IgE-mediated and other hypersensitivity states. In Grammar LC, Greenberger PA, eds. Patterson’s Allergic Diseases. 6th ed. Hagerstown, Md: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins;2002:43-54.

CPT Code(s):


Specimen Requirements:

Type: Serum
Container/Tube: Red-top tube or gel-barrier tube

  • If a red-top tube is used, transfer the separated serum to a plastic transport tube.

Sample Volume: 0.8 mL

Minimum Volume: 0.3 mL (Repeat testing is not possible with this specimen volume.)

Storage: Refrigerate specimens after collection.

Stability (collection to time of analysis/testing):

  • Ambient: 2 days
  • Refrigerated: 7 days
  • Frozen: 14 days
  • Freeze/Thaw cycles: Stable (x3)
Rejection Criteria:

  • Excessive hemolysis
  • Improper labeling


This test evaluates immunoglobulin status in possible atopic disease.


Normal IgE levels do not exclude allergic phenomena.


Electrochemiluminescence immunoassay (ECLIA)

Reference Values:

  • < 1 year: 0 − 15 IU/mL
  • 1 − 5 years: 0 − 60 IU/mL
  • 6 − 9 years: 0 − 90 IU/mL
  • 10 − 15 years: 0 − 200 IU/mL
  • Adults: 0 − 100 IU/mL