What is the mesentery and what is it for: the human 'new organ'

Did you know that it was Leonardo da Vinci who was probably the first to mention the mesentery? He spoke about him in his writings on human anatomy, which he collected at the beginning of the sixteenth century. Since then, both ancient and current medicine considered him as a mere tissue retraction, a simple fragmentary structure composed of a wide variety of separate parts. That is to say, they considered it as an element similar to appendix, with hardly any relevance or medical importance.

That so far. Because just a few days ago we knew that recent scientific research has identified it as a new human organ, as a continuous and unique organ that we find in our digestive system.

According to researchers at University Hospital Limerick, Ireland, the anatomical description that was established approximately 100 years ago was apparently totally incorrect. At that time the mesentery was considered as a fragmentary element that we found in the digestive system. However, as you have been able to confirm from your research, we are faced with a simple, continuous and unique structure.

What is the mesentery?

The mesentery consists of a retraction of the peritoneum that holds the intestines in position, joining them to the posterior wall of the abdominal cavity.

Explained in another way, it is a double fold of the lining of the abdominal cavity (the peritoneum), which connects the intestine with the wall of the abdomen, allowing it to remain in place.

We are, therefore, with a continuous structure, a quality or element necessary and essential for an organ to be considered as such.

And as the researchers themselves think, although the functioning of the digestive system does not change because of considering the mesentery as a "new organ", the truth is that this confirmation would open the door to a new discipline of study, for example, starting now categorize certain digestive diseases in relation to the mesentery.

What are the functions of the mesentery?

Although it is true that the functions performed by the mesentery are not yet known with certainty, it is known that helps to provide support being essential for the intestines to remain in their position.

In addition, it is known that takes irrigation to the viscera, because through the joined sheets of serous membrane that form it, blood and lymphatic vessels and nerves run, extending from the posterior abdominal wall to the viscera itself.

Therefore, it not only provides support and irrigation to the viscera, but also protects the organs of the digestive system, helping to cushion the friction between these different organs when they move during the process of digestion.

It is possible that as you move forward in your scientific study you discover new functions and relationships. However, what does seem to be true is that the mesentery could help to understand and better understand some digestive and abdominal diseases, leading, for example, to the development of new surgical techniques much less invasive and with fewer complications.

You Now Have A New Organ: Meet The Mesentery! (May 2023)