Reported associations of interleukin-18 (IL-18) single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with allergic rhinitis (AR) have been inconsistent, prompting a meta-analysis to obtain more precise estimates.
We synthesized data from 8 articles and examined 3 IL-18 SNPs. Two SNPs (rs360721 and rs187238), in linkage disequilibrium, were combined and termed RS1. The rs1946518 SNP was analyzed separately (termed RS2). The recessive, dominant, and codominant (multiplicative) genetic models were used to estimate ORs and 95% CIs. Subgroup analysis was ethnicity-based. Sources of heterogeneity were investigated with outlier treatment. Sensitivity analysis was used to assess robustness of the associative effects. Multiple comparisons were Holm-Bonferroni corrected.
All significant (pa < 0.05) outcomes indicating increased risks were found in the dominant/codominant models in RS1 and RS2. Five aspects of differences marked the significant African (RS1) and overall (RS2) outcomes: (i) magnitude of effect (ORs): greater (3.01-5.15) versus less (1.20-1.47); (ii) precision of -effects (95% CIs): less (1.07-21.52) versus more (1.01-1.89); (iii) outlier treated: no versus yes; (iv) sensitivity outcomes: nonrobust versus robust (dominant model only); and (v) greater evidential strength for RS2 (pa = 0.002) compared to RS1 (pa = 0.02) rendered RS2 our core finding. These levels of statistical significance for RS1/RS2 enabled both to survive the Holm-Bonferroni correction.
The core outcome indicating a 1.5-fold increased risk could render the IL-18 polymorphisms useful in the clinical genetics of AR. Future studies that could focus on other IL-18 SNPs may find deeper associations with AR than what we found here.

© 2020 S. Karger AG, Basel.