Systems biology in cardiovascular disease: a multiomics approach

Nat Rev Cardiol. 2021 May;18(5):313-330. doi: 10.1038/s41569-020-00477-1. Epub 2020 Dec 18.


Omics techniques generate large, multidimensional data that are amenable to analysis by new informatics approaches alongside conventional statistical methods. Systems theories, including network analysis and machine learning, are well placed for analysing these data but must be applied with an understanding of the relevant biological and computational theories. Through applying these techniques to omics data, systems biology addresses the problems posed by the complex organization of biological processes. In this Review, we describe the techniques and sources of omics data, outline network theory, and highlight exemplars of novel approaches that combine gene regulatory and co-expression networks, proteomics, metabolomics, lipidomics and phenomics with informatics techniques to provide new insights into cardiovascular disease. The use of systems approaches will become necessary to integrate data from more than one omic technique. Although understanding the interactions between different omics data requires increasingly complex concepts and methods, we argue that hypothesis-driven investigations and independent validation must still accompany these novel systems biology approaches to realize their full potential.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases*
  • Computational Biology*
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Genomics
  • Humans
  • Lipidomics
  • Machine Learning*
  • Metabolomics
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Proteomics
  • Systems Biology