Mesentery: The new organ discovered in humans
Did you know that there is an organ inside our body whose existence is not known to us? Well, scientists have uncovered this new organ known as the ‘mesentery’ that is hiding inside the human body. This organ connects a person’s small and large intestines to the abdominal wall and anchors them in place.
Mesentery, which was previously thought to be just a few fragmented, separate structures, is actually one continuous organ in the digestive system. The evidence for the organ’s reclassification is now published in The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology.
“In the paper, which has been peer reviewed and assessed, we are now saying we have an organ in the body which hasn’t been acknowledged as such to date,” said J Calvin Coffey, a researcher from the University Hospital Limerick in Ireland, who first discovered that the mesentery was an organ.
“The anatomic description that had been laid down over 100 years of anatomy was incorrect. This organ is far from fragmented and complex. It is simply one continuous structure.”
Back in 2012, Coffey and his colleagues began detailed microscopic examinations, which is when they realized that mesentery was a continuous structure. Over the past four years, they’ve gathered further evidence that the mesentery should actually be classified as its own distinct organ,
The discovery opens up “a whole new area of science,” told Coffey. There is no clarity on how does this organ functions, and the scientists are working to find it out.
“When we approach it like every other organ… we can categorise abdominal disease in terms of this organ,” he said.
“This is relevant universally as it affects all of us. Up to now there was no such field as mesenteric science. Now we have established anatomy and the structure,” said Coffey. “The next step is the function. If you understand the function you can identify abnormal function, and then you have disease. Put them all together and you have the field of mesenteric science…the basis for a whole new area of science.”
Following its reclassification, medical students are now being taught that the mesentery is a distinct organ. Also, the world-famous series of medical textbooks Gray’s Anatomy has reportedly been updated with the mesentery’s new classification.
With the discovery of mesentery, there are now totally 79 organs in the human body, even though there are generally five organs that are considered vital for humans, which are heart, brain, liver, lungs and kidneys. However, it is important to note that there are another 74 organs too that play an important role in keeping us healthy.
The author Kavita Iyer
An individual, optimist, homemaker, foodie, a die hard cricket fan and most importantly one who believes in Being Human