Just when you think all anatomical structures have been identified 100 times over, a whole new system is discovered. Originally discovered and named by a North Korean scientist in the 1960’s, research on the PVS has been increasing recently.
What is the PVS?
The PVS is a newly discovered circulatory system directly related to the fascia and separate from blood and lymph. It has nodes and vessels, just like other vascular systems of the body, but they are very small. The diameter of the vessels is in the range of 20-50 μm and the size of the nodes is 100-1,000 μm. Some say small enough to only be seen by an electron microscope, which is also said to be the reason they’ve been overlooked for so long.
What does it do?
Thanks to the International Fascia Research Congress, the advancement in our understanding of the fascial system has been quickly increasing over the last couple decades. “Fascia forms a whole-body continuous matrix that interpenetrates and surrounds all organs, muscles, bones, and nerve fibers. It could be considered as a single organ, a unified, whole, connection to every aspect of human physiology.”
In the research, fascia shows the capability of transmitting electrical signals in many forms, which is critical in cell-to-cell communications. Essentially, fascia is one way the organs communicate with one another. The PVS has also shown to be a “highway” for the biochemical communication between multiple body systems, including cardiovascular, nervous, immune and hormonal.
PVS vessels have been shown to have bioelectrical activity, excitatory conductivity, and mechanical motility. The electrical activity changes in relation to stimuli to these vessels. This is similar to what we already know about fascia in that applied mechanical stress produces cell morphology. Insert the practice of Acupuncture here, the retention of needles theoretically stimulates fibroblasts (a cell in connective tissue that produces collagen and other fibers) and thereby supporting the fibrous supportive network of fascia.
The study of the Primo Vascular System is yet in its infancy and it will be exciting to watch as it adds another dimension to our current knowledge of anatomy.