Background: There are racial and ethnic differences in the prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Prior meta-analyses included small samples and very limited non-Caucasian populations. Studies to determine the relationship between transcription factor 7 like-2 (TCF7L2) rs7903146 polymorphism and risk of GDM in Hispanics/Latinos are recently available. The present meta-analysis was to estimate the impact of allele variants of TCF7L2 rs7903146 polymorphism on GDM susceptibility in overall population and racial/ethnic subgroups. Methods: Literature was searched in multiple databases including PubMed, Web of Science, EMBASE (Ovid SP), Airiti Library, Medline Complete, and ProQuest up to July 2015. Allelic frequency for TCF7L2 rs7903146 polymorphism in GDM and control subjects was extracted and statistical analysis was performed using Comprehensive Meta-Analysis (CMA) 2.0 statistical software. The association between TCF7L2 rs7903146 polymorphism and GDM risk was assessed by pooled odd ratios (ORs) using five gene models (dominant, recessive, homozygote, heterozygote, and allele). Stratified analysis based on race/ethnicity was also conducted. The between-study heterogeneity and contribution of each single study to the final result was tested by Cochran Q test and sensitivity analyses, respectively. Publication bias was evaluated using Egger's linear regression test. Results: A total of 16 studies involving 4,853 cases and 10,631 controls were included in this metaanalysis. Significant association between the T-allele of rs7903146 and GDM risk was observed under all genetic models, dominant model (OR = 1.44, 95% CI = 1.19-1.74), recessive model (OR = 1.35, 95% CI = 1.08-1.70), heterozygous model (OR = 1.31, 95% CI = 1.12-1.53), homozygous model (OR = 1.67, 95% CI = 1.31-2.12), and allele model (OR = 1.31, 95% CI = 1.12-1.53). Stratified analysis by race/ethnicity showed a statistically significant association between rs7903146 polymorphism and susceptibility to GDM under homozygous genetic model (TT versus CC) among whites, Hispanics/Latinos and Asians. Sensitivity analysis showed that the overall findings were robust to potentially influential decisions of the 16 studies included. No significant evidence for publication bias was observed in this meta-analysis for overall studies and subgroup studies. Conclusions: This meta-analysis showed that the T allele of TCF7L2 rs7903146 polymorphism was associated with susceptibility of GDM in overall population in white, Hispanic/Latino and Asian sub-groups. Asians with homozygous TT allele of rs7903146 polymorphism have highest risk of GDM (OR = 2.08) followed by Hispanics/Latinos (OR = 1.80) and whites (OR = 1.51). The highest and lowest frequency of T allele of rs7903146 was found in Malaysia and South Korea, respectively. Future studies are needed to profile genetic risk for GDM among high risk Asian and Pacific Islander subgroups.
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