Anatomy students should update their vocabulary of human body structures as scientists have found a new organ in our digestive system.
A team of scientists from the University Hospital Limerick in Ireland found evidence that the new organ called mesentery functions as a separate and distinct organ.
Although the mesentery is a recognized anatomical feature even before, it was first thought that it comprises various structures. The study was able to provide substantial evidence that it is, in fact, only a single organ.
Mesentery as an Organ
The study, published in the journal Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology, emphasized the importance of identifying the structure. Mesentery as a distinct and separate organ is an understudied structure, which could potentially offer understanding of various diseases.
“For example, distinctive anatomical and functional features have been revealed that justify designation of the mesentery as an organ. Accordingly, the mesentery should be subjected to the same investigatory focus that is applied to other organs and systems,” an excerpt of the study reads.
Lead researcher J. Calvin Coffey, as reported by Science Alert, said that mesentery has been described in medical books incorrectly. Also, he said it is far from being a fragmented structure within the digestive system.
Why it Matters?
With the detailed microscopic illustrations of the mesentery, Coffey’s team has found that it is a continuous structure. This deviates to a previous illustration of a fragmented feature composed of two separate structures.
One of the earliest recorded references to mesentery was penned by famed anatomist and artist Leonardo da Vinci in 1508. In his book “Elements of the Science of Man,” da Vinci mentioned two sides of mesentery while describing the recto.
For over half a millennia, mesentery is considered one of the structures in the human body that are understudied. Therefore, with the study of Coffey and his team, scientists believe this will generate more studies about this new organ.