Purpose of the Appendix

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    • #11775
      jsmith613
      Participant

      I know that in past times, the appendix was thought to have no use, however I have heard that recently a purpose has been found for it. What is it? please can someone tell me.

    • #92723
      biohazard
      Participant

      Some recent studies suggest the appendix has similar immunological role as e.g. tonsils. That means that they contain lymphatic tissue, where some immunological events take place; probably microbe antigen presentation by macrophages and such cells to T cells. This function is so small, however, that no noticeable effects are usually seen and humans can do pretty much as well even if these organs are removed.

      The spleen is a more important lymphatic organ that can also be removed, but in this case certain effects can already be seen – including increased susceptibility to infections.

      What comes to the immunological function, even more important are lymph nodes and the gut: without their proper function we would not survive.

    • #92727
      Darby
      Participant

      There is also some evidence that it serves as a repository for colonic symbiotic bacteria – if some nasty diarrheal disease clears out the main tract, there’s a stash in the appendix from which the populations can be reconstituted. A major article came out this summer comparing structures across many different mammals, with the slant of supporting that hypothesis.

    • #92728
      biohazard
      Participant
      quote Darby:

      There is also some evidence that it serves as a repository for colonic symbiotic bacteria – if some nasty diarrheal disease clears out the main tract, there’s a stash in the appendix from which the populations can be reconstituted. A major article came out this summer comparing structures across many different mammals, with the slant of supporting that hypothesis.

      Good addition, Darby. Now as I think about it, I remember reading about that article as well.

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