Background Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) of the spine is considered a multifactorial and polygenic disease. We aimed to investigate the association between four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of pre-miRNAs [miR-146aC>G (rs2910164), miR-149T>C (rs2292832), miR-196a2T>C (rs11614913), and miR-499A>G (rs3746444)] and the risk of cervical OPLL in the Korean population. Methods The genotypic frequencies of these four SNPs were analyzed in 207 OPLL patients and 200 controls by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) assay. Findings For four SNPs in pre-miRNAs, no significant differences were found between OPLL patients and controls. However, subgroup analysis based on OPLL subgroup (continuous: continuous type plus mixed type, segmental: segmental and localized type) showed that miR-499GG genotype was associated with an increased risk of segmental type OPLL (adjusted odds ratio = 4.314 with 95% confidence interval: 1.109-16.78). In addition, some allele combinations (C-T-T-G, G-T-T-A, and G-T-C-G of miR-146a/-149/-196a2/-499) and combined genotypes (miR-149TC/miR-196a2TT) were associated with increased OPLL risk, whereas the G-T-T-G and G-C-C-G allele combinations were associated with decreased OPLL risk. Conclusion The results indicate that GG genotype of miR-499 is associated with significantly higher risks of OPLL in the segmental OPLL group. The miR-146a/-149/-196a2/-499 allele combinations may be a genetic risk factor for cervical OPLL in the Korean population.
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