Interstitium—Hiding in Plain Sight

on January 1, 2019

Surely, with all the advances in the study of human anatomy, an organ couldn’t avoid detection. Yet biologists think they’ve discovered a new one. They’re calling it the interstitium.

The interstitium isn’t invisible or tiny. In fact, it’s pretty large and extends throughout the whole body. But biologists just thought of it as a dense part of connective tissue—the tough tissue that surrounds muscles and holds organs in place. A new imaging technique, however, has shown that this “wall” of tissue actually contains many fluid-filled spaces that cushion organs and transport fluids throughout the body. They missed the fluid-filled spaces before now because in preparing tissues for microscope slides, they drained the fluid away and the spaces collapsed.

The discovery of the spaces, which may contain as much as one-third of all the body’s water, offers many avenues for new medical discoveries, including clues to how some cancers spread. As King David remarked three millennia ago, we are truly “fearfully and wonderfully made”—and we’ll never reach the end of discovering God’s ingenuity and creativity, no matter how long we study.

This article was taken from Answers magazine, July–September, 2018, 33.