A powerful membrane that twists and turns through the intestine starts the new year with a new format: the structure, called the mesentery, has been upgraded to an organ.
Scientists have known about the structure, which connects to a person in the small and in the large intestine to the abdominal wall and anchors them in place, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, until now, was thought of as a number of different membranes by the majority of scientists. It is interesting that in one of the first descriptions, no one less than Leonardo da Vinci determined that the membranes in a single structure, according to a recent review.
In the review, lead author Dr. Calvin Coffey, professor of surgery at the University of Limerick, Graduate Entry Medical School in Ireland, and colleagues looked at past studies and literature on the mesentery. Coffey noted that in the 20th century, anatomy books, the mesentery as a series of fragmented membranes; in other words, different mesenteries were associated with the different parts of the intestines.
More recent studies of the mesentery in patients undergoing colorectal surgery and in cadavers led-Coffey’s team to conclude that the diaphragm is its own, continuous organ, according to the research, which was published in November in the journal The Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
What is in a name?
The reclassification of the mesentery as an institution “of primary importance is universal because it affects all of us,” Coffey said in a statement.
By recognizing the anatomy and the structure of the mesentery, scientists can now focus on learning more about how the organ functions, Coffey said. In addition, they can also learn about diseases associated with the mesentery, he added.
“If you understand the function, you can identify abnormal function, and then you have illness,” Coffey said.
The continuous nature of the mesentery, for example, can serve as a means for disease to spread from one part of the abdomen to the other, according to the review.
In addition to the study of the disease, the researchers may also look into the mesentery for new approaches to surgery, the authors said in the review.
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More questions need answers
The authors mention in the review that many of the anatomical and other features of the mesentery have yet to be described.
For example, what the body system needs to the mesentery be divided into? “Or the mesentery should be considered as a part of the colon, vascular, endocrine, cardiovascular, or immune systems is so far unclear, as it has an important role in all of them,” the authors wrote.
While many organs have different functions in the body, the mesentery is clear function is still unknown, according to the review.
Originally published on Live Science.