A group of scientists claim that they discovered an organ that people aren’t even aware of: the interstitium. The newfound organ is a web within the tissues that is filled with fluid.
The interstitium is found in all connective tissues in the human body including the lining of the lungs, stomach, and urinary system, muscle tissue, and below the skin. A study on the newfound organ was published this week in Scientific Reports.
Past studies took the organ for a dense layer of collagen, which is present in all connective tissue. But the new research found that the layer looks like a “fluid-filled highway” uses as an infrastucture a “lattice of thick collagen bundles,” according to researchers.
Study authors explained that past studies failed to identify the organ because of the scientific methods used in those studies. Usually, when researchers study a piece of tissue under the microscope, they cut the sample into slides, pour chemicals over the slides, and dye them to underscore the most interesting features. However, the process removes the fluid in the tissue which causes the interstitium to collapse.
Interstitium Is a Missing Link in Many Cancer Theories
The latest study had a different approach. An imaging technique enabled researchers to study the newfound organ on a microscopic level. Nevertheless, before the interstitium can be officially recognized as a separate organ, other researchers need to reach a consensus.
The new findings, though, are critical for cancer research as the newfound organ could help scientists better understand how tumors spread. Interstitium is the missing link in the theories trying to explain how some tumors can reach the lymph nodes so quickly.
It is worth noting that nearly 60 percent of the human body is made of water. Around 60% of that water resides inside cells, while the rest is found between cells as interstitial fluid.
Image Source: Wikimedia
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