The Interstitium

interstitium tissue
Credit: Eric V. Grave/Getty

It looks like science has found a brand new organ in the human body. Its called the Interstitium and it evidently covers every inch of our insides.  Although it’s being pronounced an organ, that will evidently be determined over time as scientists study it more.

In any case, it is a fluid-filled superhighway that was formerly thought to be a thick wall of collagen. The reason it couldn’t be seen in the past is as interesting to me as the fact that its there.

When human tissue is prepared for viewing under a microscope, it is thinly sliced and then dyed to highlight key features. Scientists now find that this process drains the fluid-filled spaces that define the Interstitium causing them to collapse.

diagram of interstitial tissue
Jill Gregory, licensed under CC-BY-ND.

This new find is already having an impact on other health concerns and research. There seems to be a connection between the Interstitium and the spread of cancer to the lymph nodes. These fluid-filled spaces drain into the lymphatic system and when those spaces are invaded by cancer the infection-fighting lymph fluid is contaminated and therefore contaminates the lymph system.

Scientists knew of interstitial fluid but really didn’t know that it was connected in such a profound way.

So now more questions abound and the excitement of ongoing new findings regarding the Interstitium and its effects certainly have my attention!

For a deeper look at the research click here.

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