Mechanism of action of non-coding RNAs and traditional Chinese medicine in myocardial fibrosis: Focus on the TGF-β/Smad signaling pathway
Cardiac fibrosis is a serious public health problem worldwide that is closely linked to progression of many cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and adversely affects both the disease process and clinical prognosis. Numerous studies have shown that the TGF-β/Smad signaling pathway plays a key role in the progression of cardiac fibrosis. Therefore, targeted inhibition of the TGF-β/Smad signaling pathway may be a therapeutic measure for cardiac fibrosis. Currently, as the investigation on non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) move forward, a variety of ncRNAs targeting TGF-β and its downstream Smad proteins have attracted high attention. Besides, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been widely used in treating the cardiac fibrosis. As more and more molecular mechanisms of natural products, herbal formulas, and proprietary Chinese medicines are revealed, TCM has been proven to act on cardiac fibrosis by modulating multiple targets and signaling pathways, especially the TGF-β/Smad. Therefore, this work summarizes the roles of TGF-β/Smad classical and non-classical signaling pathways in the cardiac fibrosis, and discusses the recent research advances in ncRNAs targeting the TGF-β/Smad signaling pathway and TCM against cardiac fibrosis. It is hoped, in this way, to give new insights into the prevention and treatment of cardiac fibrosis.