The Mesentery – a new organ?

Whilst scanning the news yesterday, one article in particular caught my attention – a new organ has been discovered in the human digestive system!

Previously considered to have been several separate structures that connected the stomach and the intestines, the mesentery has now been reclassified as an organ. This is thanks to the work of Professor J Calvin Coffey, whose research that the connecting region was in fact all one structure; his research suggests that the mesentery secures the small and large intestines in place by connecting them like a belt to the pancreas.


Figure 1: digital representation of the mesentery

Up until now, the mesentery was believed to have one simple function: attaching the intestines to the abdominal wall through the means of a membrane known as the peritoneum, and because of this, it was never considered to have been of much interest, or worth much research.

However, now that the mesentery is officially recognised as an organ, research will be conducted to better our understanding and knowledge of exactly what functions the mesentery performs. This in turn will allow us to recognise areas in which the mesentery could malfunction, enabling us to predict the symptoms of diseases, and consequently allowing for treatments to begin to be developed.

Personally, I find this medical revelation incredibly exciting as it opens the doors to the field of mesenteric science, which, with time, could massively improve our understanding of the not only the mesentery itself, but also the digestive system as a whole. Of course, there is still the need for a great deal of research to be conducted into the function of the mesentery, but in the future, improved understanding could allow us to diagnose and treat previously unknown diseases.

Figure 1

Published: 2017


Access date: 05.01.17

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