In a major scientific discovery, scientists from New York University’s School of Medicine have found a new human organ. Called interstitium, it is a fluid-filled space found inside human tissue throughout the body. It surrounds muscles, arteries, and the urinary and digestive tracts and could be the human body’s largest organ, the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, reports.
Interstitium was found when endoscopists Petros Benias and David Carr-Locke were examining a patient’s bile duct for signs of cancer. Using new technology called a confocal laser endomicroscopy, they were able to analyse living tissue extremely closely. Calling in pathologist Neil Theise clarified the finding further.
“What we saw in this layer of the bile duct is this open fluid-filled space supported by this collagen bundle latticework,” Dr Theise says in ABC News. The fluid pockets were surrounded by a collagen web interwoven with the protein elastin.
The scientist’s discovery was made possible because they were examining living tissue, as opposed to dead, chemically-treated tissue which is normally used in medical slides.