Application of “Omics” and Systems Biology to Sarcoidosis Research
Sarcoidosis is a complex, polygenic disease of unknown cause with diverse clinical phenotypes, ranging from self-limited, asymptomatic disease to life-altering symptoms and early disease-related mortality. It is unlikely that a single common environmental exposure (e.g., infection, antigen) entirely explains the disease, and numerous genetic mutations are associated with the disease. As such, it is reasonable to assume, as with other phenotypically diverse diseases, that distinct genetic mechanisms and related biological biomarkers will serve to further define sarcoidosis subphenotypes, mechanisms, and possibly etiology, thus guiding personalized care. The fields of “omics” and systems biology research are widely applied to understand polygenic and phenotypically diverse diseases, such as sarcoidosis. “Omics” refers to technologies that allow comprehensive profiling of sets of molecules in an organism. Systems biology applies advanced computational approaches to make sense of the enormous data sets that are typically generated from “omics” platforms. The primary objectives of this article are to review the available “omics” tools, assess the current status of “omics” and systems biology research in the field of sarcoidosis, and consider how this technology could be applied to advance our understanding of the mechanistic underpinnings of disease and to develop novel treatments.