Epigenomic and transcriptomic approaches in the post-genomic era: path to novel targets for diagnosis and therapy of the ischaemic heart? Position Paper of the European Society of Cardiology Working Group on Cellular Biology of the Heart

Cardiovasc Res. 2017 Jun 1;113(7):725-736. doi: 10.1093/cvr/cvx070.


Despite advances in myocardial reperfusion therapies, acute myocardial ischaemia/reperfusion injury and consequent ischaemic heart failure represent the number one cause of morbidity and mortality in industrialized societies. Although different therapeutic interventions have been shown beneficial in preclinical settings, an effective cardioprotective or regenerative therapy has yet to be successfully introduced in the clinical arena. Given the complex pathophysiology of the ischaemic heart, large scale, unbiased, global approaches capable of identifying multiple branches of the signalling networks activated in the ischaemic/reperfused heart might be more successful in the search for novel diagnostic or therapeutic targets. High-throughput techniques allow high-resolution, genome-wide investigation of genetic variants, epigenetic modifications, and associated gene expression profiles. Platforms such as proteomics and metabolomics (not described here in detail) also offer simultaneous readouts of hundreds of proteins and metabolites. Isolated omics analyses usually provide Big Data requiring large data storage, advanced computational resources and complex bioinformatics tools. The possibility of integrating different omics approaches gives new hope to better understand the molecular circuitry activated by myocardial ischaemia, putting it in the context of the human 'diseasome'. Since modifications of cardiac gene expression have been consistently linked to pathophysiology of the ischaemic heart, the integration of epigenomic and transcriptomic data seems a promising approach to identify crucial disease networks. Thus, the scope of this Position Paper will be to highlight potentials and limitations of these approaches, and to provide recommendations to optimize the search for novel diagnostic or therapeutic targets for acute ischaemia/reperfusion injury and ischaemic heart failure in the post-genomic era.

Keywords: Big Data; Bioinformatics; Multiomics; Network analysis; Omics; Tailored medicine.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiology / standards*
  • Computational Biology / standards
  • Databases, Genetic / standards
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Epigenomics / standards*
  • Gene Expression Profiling / standards*
  • Genetic Markers
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Ischemia / diagnosis
  • Myocardial Ischemia / genetics*
  • Myocardial Ischemia / therapy
  • Patient Selection
  • Phenotype
  • Precision Medicine / standards*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Transcriptome*


  • Genetic Markers