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

Meet Your'Interstitium' A Newfound Organ

Once the team recognized this new space in images of bile ducts, they quickly recognized it throughout the body, wherever tissues moved or were compressed by force.

Researchers previously thought the space between flesh and organs was made up of solid collagen of a protein. But the new finding revealed this tissue is more like an "open, fluid-filled highway", supported by a lattice of thick collagen "bundles". Traditionally, in order to create slides, scientists use tissue that is chemically treated, draining the fluids, and making the interstitium collapse.

"Scientists prepare the tissue for examination by treating it with chemicals in order to highlight the main features but this treatment drains any fluid", added Neil Theise.

While researchers not involved in the study agree that the interstitium likely plays diverse roles in the human body, they are reticent to call it a new organ. The organ is a body-wide network of interconnected, fluid-filled compartments.

They attack the body by rapidly multiplying and are at their most deadly when they reach the lymph nodes. Cancer cells can penetrate these channels and thus directly find themselves in the lymphatic system.

Normally, scientists slice thin samples of tissue and then dye them so they can be seen better.

This fluid is rich in protein that drains into the lymphatic system, the network of vessels carrying lymph, a fluid that contains disease-fighting white blood cells.

The human body is about 60 percent water.


It's also the space where the tip of the needle goes during acupuncture, which Theise said might hold clues to how that complementary medicine approach might impact the body. David Carr-Locke and Dr. Petros Benias, both of whom were at Mount Sinai-Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City at the time-were using this technology when they saw something unusual while examining a patient's bile duct for cancer spread. For decades it did not show up on standard microscopic slides used by researchers. We know that build-up of fluid in such tissues leads to conditions such as oedema. This allowed them to again see the sodden, mesh-like tissue layer. "But these were not artifacts", Theise said. But when they do that, the scientists were causing the chambers of fluid to to "pancake, like the floors of a collapsed building", the researchers wrote.

Scientists from the School of Medicine of the University of NY, in the US, have discovered a hitherto unknown organ, the Interstitium.

Dr. Michael Nathanson, professor of medicine and cell biology and chief of the section of digestive diseases at Yale University School of Medicine, is of similar opinion.

Theise says that this is found in interstitium, which totals about "10 litres of fluid" inside the human body. But instead, they saw weird, unexplained patterns.

Theise described encountering this new view of the interstitium as a moment of "quiet awe".

The findings are consistent with what Nathanson and colleagues observed in a study published in 2011.

"They had been there all the time". They, however, express doubts on whether it can really be defined as an "organ".

'We have a new window on the mechanism of tumours spreading'.

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