A new organ called the interstitium has been discovered in the human body after being missed in plain sight.
Previously, interstitium was believed to be layers of dense, connective tissue. However, new studies show it to be a series of fluid-filled compartments.
Joining together to form a mesh of strong and flexible protein, these compartments are found under the skin, as well as lining the blood vessels, muscles, gut and lungs.
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The analysis published in the journal Scientific Reports is the first to ever identify these compartments as one organ.
Despite being the largest organ inside the human body, the interstitium went surprisingly unnoticed for all of history for all we know.
The bodily function of the new organ is to act as a “shock absorber” according to the beliefs of the team behind its discovery.
Doctors at the Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center in New York stumbled upon the interstitium while analyzing a patient’s bile duct looking for cancer.
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When they noticed cavities that did not resemble anything previously known in human anatomy, they contacted pathologist Dr Neil Theise from New York University for his opinion.
It was found that the new organ had not been identified before because researchers draw away fluids before checking tissue under microscopes, destroying the interstitium’s structure.
Therefore, the empty and damaged organ was simply believed to be a layer of connective tissue.