In this study, we investigated the association between 5 interferon regulatory factor-5 (IRF5) single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and autoimmune diseases using the Medline citation index. Twenty-eight studies with 74 comparisons, including 16 rheumatoid arthritis (RA), 43 systemic lupus erythematous (SLE), 2 juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), 6 multiple sclerosis (MS), and 5 systemic sclerosis (SSc) studies, were examined in the meta-analysis. The SNP rs2004640 was significantly associated with SLE, MS, and SSc, but not with JIA [odds ratio (OR)=1.06, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.90-1.24, P=0.48] or RA (OR=1.03, 95%CI=0.95-1.11, P=0.44). A significant association was observed between rs2280714 and SLE, MS, and SSc, but not RA (OR=1.01, 95%CI=0.94-1.09, P=0.80). Rs10954213 was associated with the pathogenesis of SLE, RA, MS, and SSc. rs2070197 and the exon 6 insertion were significantly associated with SLE. Haplotypes containing rs2004640T and rs2280714T were significantly associated with an increased risk of SLE, but not with RA. This meta-analysis certified that IRF5 polymorphisms confer susceptibility to SLE, MS, and SSc. To further confirm the correlations between polymorphisms of IRF5 and autoimmune disease susceptibility, studies involving a larger number of patients worldwide are necessary.