Objective: miR-146a may play important roles in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Several studies have examined the association of miR-146a gene polymorphisms with SLE, but these studies have shown inconclusive results. To verify whether an association exists, we conducted a meta-analysis of all relevant reports cited in MEDLINE/ PubMed and EMBASE before August 2013. Methods: Meta-analyses were performed on three published studies of the association between the miR-146a rs57095329 SNP and SLE for 5934 patients with SLE and 5591 controls as well as on four published studies of the association between miR-146a rs2910164 SNP and SLE for 2505 patients with SLE and 3248 controls. In addition, two studies involving 1920 SLE patients and 2472 controls were included in a meta-analysis of the association between miR-146a rs2431697 SNP and SLE. Summary odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were pooled by the inverse of their variance. Results: Of three SNPs analyzed, rs57095329 (OR 1.25, 95%CI 1.17-1.35) and rs2431697 (OR 1.24, 95% CI 1.13-1.37) were genetically associated with SLE. However, no significant association was found between rs2910164 and SLE susceptibility (OR 0.98, 95% CI 0.90-1.06). There was no significant heterogeneity across studies and no evidence of publication bias. Conclusions: The results of our meta-analysis suggest that miR-146a rs57095329 and rs2431697 SNPs are associated with SLE susceptibility. In addition, our results suggest that there is an ethnical difference between Asian and European populations in the association between miR-146a SNPs and SLE susceptibility.
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