Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease and a worldwide public health problem that affects mainly high-risk groups. Characterizing knowledge, attitude, and practice (KAP) among high-risk groups is important to develop appropriate prevention programs. Here, we performed a cross-sectional study among 300 visitors of a recreational forest in Malaysia to examine leptospirosis KAP and demographics. These variables were integrated to create knowledge and practice scores for each respondent. All respondents had heard about leptospirosis, and 87% of them correctly identified it as a disease. The majority of respondents had high knowledge (63%), positive attitude, and good practice (68%) toward prevention of the disease. However, there were gaps in knowledge, with 78% of the respondents indicating eating without washing hands as the major cause of leptospirosis transmission. Our final model identified that higher knowledge score was associated with higher practice score. Our results indicate that it is important to increase knowledge, especially on transmission routes of leptospirosis, among visitors in recreational areas. Moreover, more attention needs to be paid to promote good practice habits among visitors, targeting those at higher risk of being infected by leptospirosis to prevent potential outbreaks in the recreational areas.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) hold tremendous potential for therapeutic use in stem cell-based gene therapy. Ex vivo genetic modification of MSCs with beneficial genes of interest is a prerequisite for successful use of stem cell-based therapeutic applications. However, genetic manipulation of MSCs is challenging because they are resistant to commonly used methods to introduce exogenous DNA or RNA. Herein we compared the effectiveness of several techniques (classic calcium phosphate precipitation, cationic polymer, and standard electroporation) with that of microporation technology to introduce the plasmid encoding for angiopoietin-1 (ANGPT-1) and enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) into human adipose-derived MSCs (hAD-MSCs). The microporation technique had a higher transfection efficiency, with up to 50% of the viable hAD-MSCs being transfected, compared to the other transfection techniques, for which less than 1% of cells were positive for eGFP expression following transfection. The capability of cells to proliferate and differentiate into three major lineages (chondrocytes, adipocytes, and osteocytes) was found to be independent of the technique used for transfection. These results show that the microporation technique is superior to the others in terms of its ability to transfect hAD-MSCs without affecting their proliferation and differentiation capabilities. Therefore, this study provides a foundation for the selection of techniques when using ex vivo gene manipulation for cell-based gene therapy with MSCs as the vehicle for gene delivery.
The therapeutic use of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) represents a promising alternative clinical strategy for treating acute and chronic lung disorders. Several preclinical reports demonstrated that MSCs can secrete multiple paracrine factors and that their immunomodulatory properties can support endothelial and epithelial regeneration, modulate the inflammatory cascade and protect lungs from damage. The effects of MSC transplantation into patients suffering from lung diseases should be fully evaluated through careful assessment of safety and associated risks, which is a prerequisite for translation of preclinical research into clinical practice. In this article, we summarize the current status of preclinical research and review initial MSC-based clinical trials for treating lung injuries and lung disorders.