With all that’s known about human anatomy, you wouldn’t expect doctors to discover a new body part in this day and age. But now, researchers say they’ve done just that: They’ve found a network of fluid-filled spaces in tissue that hadn’t been seen before.
These fluid-filled spaces were discovered in connective tissues all over the body, including below the skin’s surface; lining the digestive tract, lungs and urinary systems; and surrounding muscles, according to a new study detailing the findings, published today (March 27) in the journal Scientific Reports.
Previously, researchers had thought these tissue layers were a dense “wall” of collagen — a strong structural protein found in connective tissue. But the new finding reveals that, rather than a “wall,” this tissue is more like an “open, fluid-filled highway,” said co-senior study author Dr. Neil Theise, a professor of pathology at New York University Langone School of Medicine.