Gamma E immunoglobulin (IgE) is associated with allergic reactions, but has not been described as being activated after trauma or sepsis. Total plasma IgE concentrations were determined in 32 patients with major traumatic injury, 29 patients undergoing elective abdominal operations, and 30 healthy volunteers. Mean total IgE concentrations were 271.7 ng/mL, 52.3 ng/mL, and 41.3 ng/mL, respectively (p < 0.01 for each comparison with the trauma group). Total IgE concentrations in trauma patients at the time of admission were not significantly different from elective surgical controls, and tended to increase during the intensive care unit stay. In the trauma group, total IgE concentration was significantly greater in the 18 patients that developed sepsis syndrome compared with those that did not (p = 0.034). These data suggest that allergic mechanisms may be involved in the physiologic response to major traumatic injury and sepsis syndrome, or that other cells known to be involved in the immune responses to trauma and sepsis (macrophages, platelets, and B lymphocytes) may become activated by IgE-dependent mechanisms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas