Table of Contents
Journal of Allergy
Volume 2012, Article ID 241314, 15 pages
Review Article

How Can Microarrays Unlock Asthma?

1Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, 431 Glebe Point Road, Glebe, NSW 2037, Australia
2Central Clinical School, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
3Department of Pharmacology, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
4Cooperative Research Centre for Asthma and Airways, Glebe, NSW 2037, Australia

Received 11 July 2011; Revised 30 September 2011; Accepted 12 October 2011

Academic Editor: Irene Heijink

Copyright © 2012 Alen Faiz and Janette K. Burgess. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Asthma is a complex disease regulated by the interplay of a large number of underlying mechanisms which contribute to the overall pathology. Despite various breakthroughs identifying genes related to asthma, our understanding of the importance of the genetic background remains limited. Although current therapies for asthma are relatively effective, subpopulations of asthmatics do not respond to these regimens. By unlocking the role of these underlying mechanisms, a source of novel and more effective treatments may be identified. In the new age of high-throughput technologies, gene-expression microarrays provide a quick and effective method of identifying novel genes and pathways, which would be impossible to discover using an individual gene screening approach. In this review we follow the history of expression microarray technologies and describe their contributions to advancing our current knowledge and understanding of asthma pathology.