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Retrieval, reporting and methodological characteristics for systematic reviews/meta-analyses of animal models: a meta-epidemiological study

Shuzhen SHI1, 2, Ming LIU1, 2, Wenjuan MA1, 2, Ya GAO1, 2, Long GE3, Xiping SHEN3, Jiarui WU4, Junhua ZHANG5, *, Jinhui TIAN1, 2, *

1 Evidence-Based Medicine Center, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, China
2 Key Laboratory of Evidence-Based Medicine and Knowledge Translation of Gansu Province, Lanzhou, China
3 School of Public Health, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, China
4 Department of Clinical Chinese Pharmacy, School of Chinese Materia Medica, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China
5 Evidence-Based Medicine Center, Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tianjin, China

* Address correspondence to: Jinhui Tian, ; Junhua Zhang,

BIOCELL 2019, 43(4), 233-251.


The study aimed to analyze the reporting and methodological quality of systematic reviews (SRs)/metaanalyses (MAs) of animal models to provide references for later studies and avoid the waste of medical resources. EMBASE and MEDLINE databases were searched from inception to November 2017, with no language restriction. Two reviewers selected inclusion dependently and extracted the basic characteristics. Review Manager 5.3, stata 12.0, and SPSS 21 software were used to conduct analyses. A total of 46 SRs/MAs were included. The results showed that the English databases with high retrieval frequency are PubMed/MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Web of Science. 67.31% (31/46) of the articles reported the search strategy in the full text or the appendix. 65.22% (30/46) reported the literature screening flow diagram, and only 19.57% (9/46) reported the number of works of literature retrieved in each database. 60.87% (28/46) illustrated supplement retrieval. Through 2 subgroup analyses, it was found that there were no significant differences in the quality of reports of PRISMA items. But referring to the methodological quality or reporting of PRESS items, SCI was better than that of non-SCI, while there seemed a source of funding to have no significant impact on the methodological quality or the items of PRESS. The results of PRESS, AMSTAR 2, and PRISMA were correlated, and the correlation between PRISMA and AMSTAR 2 was strong. These results demonstrated that search strategies of animal model SRs/MAs are still not enough comprehensive, report specification and methodological quality still need to be ameliorated. To show users the scientificity and rigor of the study, future research should focus on these various guidelines like PRESS, PRISMA, and AMSTAR 2 checklists that have been issued, it can help to increase the value of research and improve the utilization of medical resources.


Cite This Article

SHI, S., LIU, M., MA, W., GAO, Y., GE, L. et al. (2019). Retrieval, reporting and methodological characteristics for systematic reviews/meta-analyses of animal models: a meta-epidemiological study. BIOCELL, 43(4), 233–251.

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