Systems analysis of oxidant stress in the vasculature



Systems biology and network analysis are emerging as valuable tools for the discovery of novel relationships, the identification of key regulatory factors, and the prediction of phenotypic changes in complex biological systems. Redox homeostasis in the vasculature is maintained by an intricate balance between oxidant-generating and antioxidant systems. When these systems are perturbed, conditions are permissive for oxidant stress, which, in turn, promotes vascular dysfunction and structural remodeling. Owing to the number of elements involved in redox regulation and the different vascular pathophenotypes associated with oxidant stress, vascular oxidant stress represents an ideal system to study by network analysis. Networks offer a method to organize experimentally derived factors, including proteins, metabolites, and DNA, that are represented as nodes into an unbiased comprehensive platform for study. Through analysis of the network, it is possible to determine essential or regulatory nodes, identify previously unknown connections between nodes, and locate modules, which are groups of nodes located within the same neighborhood that function together and have implications for phenotype. Investigators have only recently begun to construct oxidant stress-related networks to examine vascular structure and function; however, these early studies have provided mechanistic insight to further our understanding of this complicated biological system. © 2013 IUBMB Life, 65(11):911–920, 2013