Introducing the Interstitium
Our butlers often get asked insightful and thought-provoking questions, and they endeavor to find the answers. As part of this series, we are sharing some of these questions and shedding light on fascinating new topics, medical discoveries, and wellness themes.
“I often find myself with inflammation which appears out of nowhere. I practice yoga, know how to take care of my health and how to lead a healthy lifestyle. I exercise regularly and pay a lot of attention to what goes into my body, so it always comes as a bit of surprise to me when I go through periods of inflammation. I have heard that the interstitium may be revealing new insights into our understanding of the human body, and would be interested to know more about it.”
Until recently, we were fairly confident that all the parts that make up the human body had been fully documented. With science and medicine as advanced as they are, the chance of something going unnoticed seems far-fetched. Yet new research has shown that there may be a crucial body part which we have yet to fully identify: the interstitium.
Essentially, the interstitium is a network of fluid-filled spaces in the tissue. A study headed by Dr. Neil Theise, a professor of pathology at New York University Langone School of Medicine, has discovered that these spaces are found in connective tissues throughout the whole of the body. They are everywhere, from the lining of the digestive tract, lungs and urinary systems to the muscles and below the skin’s surface.
While researchers are stopping short of calling the interstitium a new organ, it is clear that it plays a crucial role in our well-being. In addition to acting as a cushion to protect our organs, the fluid sacks could help to transport infection-fighting white blood cells in lymph fluid, molecules used for signaling and much more. They could even be used to diagnose diseases such as cancers. Histological examinations of colon, stomach and skin cancers revealed what appears to show that the disease metastasized directly from the interstitial space to the lymph nodes. Researchers now believe the interstitium drains into the lymphatic system.
While we don’t yet know precisely how the interstitium is contributing to inflammation, what is evident is that more research is needed. Yet the initial findings relating to the role it plays in our wellness and ability to fight off disease shouldn’t be underestimated. At this stage, it is a case of watch this space.