Brand new human organ identified - REALLY!!!

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Eravial
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Brand new human organ identified - REALLY!!!

Post by Eravial » Tue Mar 27, 22:39 2018

Y'ALL. An entirely new bodily organ was just reportedly discovered, a revelation published today in the journal Nature, and it's a big fucking deal!! It's called the interstitium, and it's a network of fluid-filled collagen vessels that permeate the skin, mucous membranes, and fascia (connective tissue) throughout the body. The authors hypothesize that it exists to serve as a protective cushion, but really there's SO MUCH MORE SCIENCE to be done to even be able to start to figure out the true nature and function of this structure.

Like many modern major scientific breakthroughs, this was discovered because of technological advances in research and diagnostic tools. This was found using new imaging technology called Probe-based Confocal Laser Endomicroscopy (pCLE). What's important about this new form of microscopy is that it can visualize things that are inside a living person in real time. That's pretty rad. The interstitium has never been found before because all previous forms of microscopy involved taking tissue samples, and taking tissue samples means cutting tissue, which means that the fluid drained from these vessels before the tissue was viewed. Until now, it has been thought that these tissues were thick, hard, protective collagen layers; it seems now that these were actually the drained and collapsed collagen vessels of the interstitium. The structure was confirmed by taking tissue samples from patients having pancreatic surgery, rapidly freezing the samples, and looking at slices of the frozen samples using more traditional microscopy. When frozen before allowing the interstitial fluid to flow out, the vessels retained their form.

This could have implications for cancer migration, since it seems that the interstitium is totally connected. Potentially, a cancer cell that makes it into this fluid might be able to effectively travel down this water slide-like tube to another tissue to form another tumor site.

Of course, this is a huge discovery, and it has been peer-reviewed, but now that it's out there, other scientists will certainly try to poke holes in this conclusion/"organ" classification, or to provide a better explanation of what the study's authors showed. This is the beauty of the scientific method. Stay tuned!


A colleague of mine commented quite appropriately:
“Newly-discovered human organ may help explain...” Wait hold up, I’m sorry, did I just read the words “newly-discovered human organ”? What in the... I can’t... when I was deciding what area of biology to pursue, I didn’t know that discovering new organs was an option! *mind blown*
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Re: Brand new human organ identified - REALLY!!!

Post by DarkOne » Wed Mar 28, 4:59 2018

I caught the tail end of this story on the radio this morning -- very cool. Must be so exciting for cancer research and medical diagnosis! I looked it up some, and it seems like pCLE has been around for ~10 yrs, though I'm sure in that time it has gotten a lot more refined and sophisticated.

The article made me wonder what the timeline is for this kind of research to enter the public domain from the time of discovery. Does anyone know how long the review process is for a top tier journal like Nature? I ask because I noticed one of the illustrations in the article (the one depicting the fluid-filled spaces) was copyrighted in 2016. So a public announcement like this seems to have been in the works for at least 15 mo.

Anywho, very interesting, indeed.
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Re: Brand new human organ identified - REALLY!!!

Post by rowan » Wed Mar 28, 8:33 2018

Peer review can often take that long :(

Very cool, glad you talked about it, I saw it floating around but hadn't gotten around to reading it yet.
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Re: Brand new human organ identified - REALLY!!!

Post by Bork » Wed Mar 28, 12:01 2018

This is so freaking exciting!! I love that we're still making new discoveries about human bodies like this. Technology can be so hella awesome. Makes me wonder what else is out there or going on that we just can't detect yet.

I'm also excited and intrigued by the cancer implications, although we're a very long way off from being able to use this knowledge to impact any sort of treatment. It'll be really interesting to see where this ends up going.
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Re: Brand new human organ identified - REALLY!!!

Post by Skeezy » Sun Apr 22, 16:01 2018

I hope this opens the door on lots of things. Cancer is top but, it would be great if this lead to a cure for psoriasis and eczema. I have psoriasis and it can be very intrusive.

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Re: Brand new human organ identified - REALLY!!!

Post by rowan » Mon Apr 23, 10:35 2018

I have that too and it sucks >.<
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Re: Brand new human organ identified - REALLY!!!

Post by Aum » Thu Apr 26, 10:39 2018

I think as modern medicine starts to gain a better understanding of holism in the body (vs. compartmentalism), they will begin to discover more organs like this. I have to admit though, I'm having a hard time understanding what this interstitutium is about.

In Chinese medicine they have an organ called the San Jiao which has a very similar description to the interstitium. They've known about it for abotu 500 years or so.
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