Stories claiming scientists have discovered a new organ that could be the biggest in the body have been blowing up the internet.
The interstitium is not an undiscovered organ. In fact, it has been included in textbooks and studied in medical schools for decades. It is the lining and layer of fluid filled pockets found between the skin, organs and tissues all over the body. An extreme build up of this fluid may be the reason you feel bloated, puffy or see pitting and denting in your skin.
Doctors including University of Texas Medical Center, Galveston Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Dr. Abe DeAnda are excited about a new study published this week in the Journal Science.
Researchers from New York and Philadelphia used new high power laser microscopes to examine the interstitial spaces and found new networks of fluid within the layers. Doctors said that this network of fluid could act as a kind of "shock absorber " for other parts of the body, like the lungs, bladder and digestive system. It could also help scientists get a better understanding of how tumors and diseases like cancer can quickly grow and spread through the body.
DeAnda says this study does definitely expand the understanding of a previously vague concept of these fluid filled spaces. He plans on using this new information to study how these new fluid pockets affect the lining of blood vessels. The interstitium could actually turn out to be quite important, but the published study does not claim the interstitium to be a new organ.