Current documents on risk assessment of genetically modified foods recommend including IgE-binding tests on sera from allergic patients. However, there is no generally accepted recommendation on technical aspects of the testing procedures or on the interpretation of the results, despite that fact that both false positive and false-negative results may be caused by variability of the test procedures. The present article discusses the state-of-the-art of serological test procedures for qualitative and quantitative determination of specific IgE and interpretation of test results. It is emphasized that the use of sera from clinically well-characterized subjects is of high importance. In the case of a positive test result, the biological activity of the detected IgE antibodies, i. e., the potential to trigger mediator release from basophils or mast cells in an allergen-specific manner, should be taken into account. However, present data also indicate that validation of such mediator release tests is required, both in terms of experimental protocols and with respect to correlation of the test results with the clinical situation. Further studies are also required to prove the usefulness of targeted serum screening, i. e., the testing of gene products from organisms not known to be allergenic with sera from subjects allergic to related species.
Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, 2006, Vol 50, Issue 7, p. 645-54