Interstitium Is Fluid-Filled Shock Absorber

Either way, its understanding means "a significant reassessment of anatomy affecting every organ of the body", said one of the lead authors, Neil D. Theise, a pathology professor at Langone Medical Center at New York University.

According to Independent, a group of scientists have found a new organ in our body called "Interstitium" which is a shock-absorbing tissue underneath the skin.

Dr. Theise and his colleagues also suggest the vast network of fluid-filled compartments that make up the interstitium could better explain how cancer spreads to the lymph nodes, as well as other areas of the body.

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.

The researchers observed a net-like structure surrounding fluid-filled spaces around the bile duct. That highway can transport cells all throughout the body - and that includes cancer cells.

Using this technology in the fall of 2015 at Beth Israel Medical Center, endoscopists and study co-authors David Carr-Locke, MD, and Petros Benias, MD, saw something odd while probing a patient's bile duct for cancer spread.

This organ is not necessarily one we're going to embrace, as it could also act as a conduit for cancerous cells to move to different parts of 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. According to the researchers, this occurs because these fluid-filled spaces are a source of a fluid called lymph and drain into the lymphatic system.

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Official designation aside, the findings may have implications for a variety of fields of medicine, including cancer research, Theise said.

This series of spaces, supported by a meshwork of strong (collagen) and flexible (elastin) connective tissue proteins, may act like shock absorbers that keep tissues from tearing as organs, muscles, and vessels squeeze, pump, and pulse as part of daily function. Before the pancreas and the bile duct were removed, patients underwent confocal microscopy for live tissue imaging.

New technology - a probe-based confocal laser encomicroscopy - has enabled researches to view living tissues instead of fixed ones. When the tissue samples were removed from the body, they were quickly frozen, which allowed the fluid-filled spaces to stay open so the researchers could see them under a microscope. So in the past, scientists would have seen these channels camouflaged as hard, dense tissue. Sure enough, they found that in some of the stomach and skin cancer tissue they looked at, cancer cells had spread into the interstitium.

"Can we detect [disease] earlier by sampling fluid from the space?".

It was also known that cells immediately around tumours can be incredibly important in supporting and fostering the growth and spread of tumour cells in the body, Dr O'Connor said.

This is the second time in as many years humans have learned details about a new organ.


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