Purpose of review
The purpose of this review is to discuss the present systems biology approach to asthma and how it is helping to define asthma subtypes. Although the general concept of systems biology will be discussed, the article will focus on recent developments in the field related to asthma.
The most recent work in systems biology and asthma has occurred in the area of genomics (e.g., pharmacogenomics and gene–environment interactions), protein interaction networks [e.g., interleukin (IL)-33/IL-1 receptor-like 1 signaling], cluster analysis of asthma patients (e.g., application of severe asthma research program clusters to a general urban asthma population), and multiscale approaches to asthma encompassing data from the molecule to whole organ (e.g., modeling of airways hyperresponsiveness).
The results of recent work in this area have led to new insight into gene–cytokine and protein–protein networks involved in asthma, a better determination of key clinical factors associated with asthma subtypes, and the beginning of sophisticated multiscale approaches to modeling, understanding and predicting the behavior of the asthmatic lung.