When scientists discovered an 80th organ in the human body

Scientists in 2018 discovered a potential new organ, possibly the largest in the human body. Called “interstitium”, it had until now escaped the attention of researchers because of observation techniques.

On the map of the organs of the human body, we were pretty sure we crossed out all mentions “unknown land”. And yet, a study in 2018 revealed the discovery of a potential organ so far ignored: l interspace. This structure, the largest of the human body, plays a major role in the function of organs, of most of our tissues, and even in the mechanisms of many diseases.

Compartments to protect the body

So far taken for a layer of collagen, the interstitium turns out to be something quite different. Located under our epidermis, covering the digestive system, lungs, urinary tract, surrounding arteries, veins and the fascia that envelops our muscles, it is made up of interconnected compartments filled with liquid.

These compartments are structured by a protein network forming connective tissues, made up of collagen (rather rigid) and elastin (flexible). They probably play a role in shock absorption, preventing tissue tearing during the daily activity of children. muscles, vessels and other organs. They are also producers of lymph and could play a role in the appearance of rides and the various symptoms associated with old age.

Far from being closed walls, the fabrics that compartmentalize these pockets leave circulate fluids, doing l interspace a real liquid highway. This property could make it possible to understand how the cancers spread. Indeed, those who attack l interspace are much more likely to spread, probably thanks to the use of this “highway”.

A late discovery

It’s only by chance that the potential new organ was discovered, during an observation employing the recent technique of confocal endomicroscopy on a patient with a cancer. During this review, the doctors observed a set of cavities whose existence had never been reported. They then decided to carry out more in-depth analyzes who revealed how the interstitium had escaped radar for so long.

Indeed, during an observation at microscope, it is necessary to “fix” the sample using chemical treatments and dyes. These do reveal the solid structures but remove all liquid traces. In the absence of fluid, the microarchitecture protein that makes up the pockets of the interstitium collapses and it then becomes impossible d’observer the organ as it appears in the human body. We are faced with a set of ruins from which it is impossible to derive meaning.

In their study, the researchers behind the discovery propose to make the interstitium the 80th organ of the human body. A new concept which revolutionizes our understanding of this interstitial space, until now a relatively nebulous in anatomy. It could also provide us with invaluable keys in our approach and handling of diseases. But his status as true organ remains to be confirmed. In the meantime, we can therefore always wish welcome with potential organ n ° 80!

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