Mesentery: Do you know what it is?

Jan 15, 2021 | Q&A

Do you know that researchers at University Hospital Limerick, Ireland, have found that there is a new organ in the human body, the mesentery? This is the peritoneum to which the small intestine attaches itself to.

What’s a mesentery?

The mesentery has always been present in our digestive system but has just recently been classified as a separate organ. This new definition will soon be updated in the reputable anatomy book, Gray’s Anatomy. Of course, the structures that form the mesentery have also been seen before, but previously it was thought that the structure was more divided. However, new microscopic and electron microscopic methods have now shown that it is the same structure that can be classified as an internal organ in itself.

What does the mesentery do?

The mesentery is a peritoneal fold that keeps the small intestine and large intestine suspended at the posterior abdominal wall which forms an organ that helps keep the internal organs in place. In addition to this it is considered to contribute to fat storage and supply the intestines with blood vessels, lymph vessels and nerves, otherwise, its function is relatively unknown. Professor Calvin Coffey believes that now that the anatomy has been determined, the next step is to find out more about its function. An increased understanding of the function, in turn, makes it possible to identify diseases that may be linked to the intestinal tract. Hopefully, this can also lead to a better understanding of its importance for gastrointestinal diseases, and enable new treatment methods.

Professor Calvin Coffey and his colleague recently published a summary article in The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 2016. Click on the link in the references below for more information.