The aim of this study was to determine whether the vitamin D receptor (VDR) polymorphisms confer susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematous (SLE).

A meta-analysis was conducted on the associations between the BsmI, TaqI, FokI, and ApaI polymorphisms of VDR and RA or SLE using: (1) allele contrast, (2) the recessive model, (3) the dominant model, and (4) additive model. A total of ten studies, six RA and four SLE studies, were considered in the meta-analysis. Meta-analysis of the VDR BsmI and TaqI polymorphisms showed no association between RA in all subjects, or in European or Asian subjects.

In contrast, meta-analysis of the F allele, the FF genotype, and the FF vs. the ff genotype of the FokI polymorphism showed significant associations with RA in Europeans.

The overall OR of the association between the F allele and RA was 1.502 (95% CI = 1.158-1.949, P = 0.002). Meta-analysis of the B allele, BB + Bb genotype, and BB genotype (additive model) of the BsmI polymorphism showed significant associations with SLE and LN in Asians. The overall ORs of the associations between the B allele and SLE and LN were 3.584 (95% CI = 1.407-9.130, P = 0.007) and 3.652 (95% CI = 1.347-9.902, P = 0.011).

This meta-analysis demonstrates that the VDR FokI polymorphism may confer susceptibility to RA in Europeans. Furthermore, associations were found between the VDR BsmI polymorphism and susceptibilities to SLE and LN in Asians.