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Pediatrics and Child Health - Public Health and Epidemiology

An Integrated Meta-Analysis of Two Variants in HOXA1/HOXB1 and Their Effect on the Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorders
Published: Thursday, September 29, 2011
Author: Ran-Ran Song et al.

by Ran-Ran Song, Li Zou, Rong Zhong, Xia-Wen Zheng, Bei-Bei Zhu, Wei Chen, Li Liu, Xiao-Ping Miao


HOXA1 and HOXB1 have been strongly posed as candidate genes for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) given their important role in the development of hindbrain. The A218G (rs10951154) in HOXA1 and the insertion variant in HOXB1 (nINS/INS, rs72338773) were of special interest for ASD but with inconclusive results. Thus, we conducted a meta-analysis integrating case-control and transmission/disequilibrium test (TDT) studies to clearly discern the effect of these two variants in ASD.

Methods and Findings

Multiple electronic databases were searched to identify studies assessing the A218G and/or nINS/INS variant in ASD. Data from case-control and TDT studies were analyzed in an allelic model using the Catmap software. A total of 10 and 7 reports were found to be eligible for meta-analyses of A218G and nINS/INS variant, respectively. In overall meta-analysis, the pooled OR for the 218G allele and the INS allele was 0.97 (95% CI?=?0.76-1.25, Pheterogeneity?=?0.029) and 1.14 (95% CI?=?0.97-1.33, Pheterogeneity?=?0.269), respectively. No significant association was also identified between these two variants and ASD risk in stratified analysis. Further, cumulative meta-analysis in chronologic order showed the inclination toward null-significant association for both variants with continual adding studies. Additionally, although the between-study heterogeneity regarding the A218G is not explained by study design, ethnicity, and sample size, the sensitive analysis indicated the stability of the result.


This meta-analysis suggests the HOXA1 A218G and HOXB1 nINS/INS variants may not contribute significantly to ASD risk.