New Human Organ? Scientists Call it ‘the Interstitium’

A team of scientists have discovered what some are calling a new human organ, a network of fluid-filled spaces in tissue the researchers refer to as “the interstitium.”

According to researchers, these fluid-filled spaces were missed for decades because they didn’t show up on standard microscopic slides, and the recent discovery happened with a new imaging technique called probe-based confocal laser endomicroscopy that allows tissue to be examined on a microscopic level in living people.

Pathology expert Neil Theise suggested the interstitium fits all the criteria for the definition of an organ, potentially making it the 80th organ to be classified in the human body – but not everyone agrees.

“I would think of this as a new component that is common among a variety of organs, rather than a new organ in and of itself,” Michael Nathanson from the Yale School of Medicine told CNN. “It would be analogous to discovering blood vessels for the first time, in that they are in every organ but they aren’t an organ themselves.”

According to Theise, the interstitium could be “a fundamental force in driving cancer metastasis as well as offering a biological explanation for the reported efficacy of techniques such as acupuncture,” Rich Haridy of New Atlas reported.

Research on the interstitium was published in Scientific Reports