Evidence for continuity of interstitial spaces across tissue and organ boundaries in humans.Commun Biol. 2021 Mar 31; 4(1):436.CB
Bodies have continuous reticular networks, comprising collagens, elastin, glycosaminoglycans, and other extracellular matrix components, through all tissues and organs. Fibrous coverings of nerves and blood vessels create structural continuity beyond organ boundaries. We recently validated fluid flow through human fibrous tissues, though whether these interstitial spaces are continuous through the body or discontinuous, confined within individual organs, remains unclear. Here we show evidence for continuity of interstitial spaces using two approaches. Non-biological particles (tattoo pigment, colloidal silver) were tracked within colon and skin interstitial spaces and into adjacent fascia. Hyaluronic acid, a macromolecular component of interstitial spaces, was also visualized. Both techniques demonstrate interstitial continuity within and between organs including within perineurium and vascular adventitia traversing organs and the spaces between them. We suggest that there is a body-wide network of fluid-filled interstitial spaces that has significant implications for molecular signaling, cell trafficking, and the spread of malignant and infectious disease.