Cardiac fibrosis is a key physiological response to cardiac tissue injury to protect the heart from wall rupture. However, its progression increases heart stiffness, eventually causing a decrease in heart contractility. Unfortunately, to date, no efficient antifibrotic therapies are available to the clinic. This is primarily due to the complexity of the process, which involves several cell types and signaling pathways. For instance, the transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) signaling pathway has been recognized to be vital for myofibroblasts activation and fibrosis progression. In this context, complex sphingolipids, such as ganglioside GM3, have been shown to be directly involved in TGF-β receptor 1 (TGF-R1) activation. In this work, we report that an induced up-regulation of sialidase Neu3, a glycohydrolytic enzyme involved in ganglioside cell homeostasis, can significantly reduce cardiac fibrosis in primary cultures of human cardiac fibroblasts by inhibiting the TGF-β signaling pathway, ultimately decreasing collagen I deposition. These results support the notion that modulating ganglioside GM3 cell content could represent a novel therapeutic approach for cardiac fibrosis, warranting for further investigations.

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