Daily Trends Now
Daily Trends Now

New Human Organ Holds a 5th of Body's Fluid

New Human Organ Holds a 5th of Body's Fluid

Called the interstitium, it consists of a series of fluid-filled, shock-absorbing compartments that shield body tissues. "For a body part to officially become an organ, a consensus would need to develop around the idea as more researchers study it", study author Dr. Neil Theise, a professor of pathology at New York University Langone School of Medicine, told Live Science.

Scientists report on their identification of a previously undetected, but widespread, structural feature in the human body that could play a key role in how tissues and organs function, and also impact on disease mechanisms and spread.

The press release states: "Importantly, the finding that this layer is a highway of moving fluid may explain why cancer that invades it becomes much more likely to spread".

To start to understand the function of the new organ the team designed a new method of tissue examination that involves the freezing of biopsy tissue, which helps preserve the anatomy of the organ.

Schematic of the fluid-filled space supported by a network of collagen bundles lined on one side with cells. For instance, scientists always knew that 20 percent of body fluids was missing in a total tally, in between blood, lymph, serum and other bodily fluids.

When slides were examined that's what it looked like, because to make a slide the fluid is drained away as part of the process.

Co-authors of the study David Carr-Locke and Petros Constantinos Benias have first encountered interstitium in 2015 while they investigate a bile duct from a cancer patient. Once the team recognized this new space in images of bile ducts, they quickly recognized it throughout the body, wherever tissues moved or where it was compressed by force.

The fluid-filled tissue is also though to act as a shock absorber for the body. Upon further scrutiny, they determined that the lattice is composed of collagen bundles that support fluid-filled spaces and are lined irregularly with flattened cells that produce two markers, one endothelial and one mesenchymal.

In his opinion, the interstitium acts as a source of lymph, the fluid vital to the functioning of immune cells and which carries infection-fighting white blood cells.

"This has both", he said of the interstitium, per CNN.

"This discovery will open up new research pathways for inflammation and cancer progression".

The new organ contains strong (collagen) and flexible (elastin) connective tissue proteins.

Called a "probe-based confocal laser endomicroscopy", or pCLE, it allows a microscopic view of living tissue. It has been identified in connective tissues, including those just below the surface of the skin.

For their latest studies, the team used a freezing technique to prepare surgically obtained tissue specimens from cancer patients in such a way that the interstitial compartments weren't disrupted.

The organ's true objective was finally discovered during a routine endoscopy looking at a patient's bile duct.

This fluid layer that surrounds most organs may explain why cancer spreads so easily. Researchers said interstitium could significantly advance the understanding of cancer and many other diseases.


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