Principle of relative positioning of structures in the human body

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Abstract

The arrangement of various biological structures should generally ensure the safety of crucial structures and increase their working efficiency; however, other principles governing the relative positions of structures in humans have not been reported. The present study therefore investigated other principles using nerves and their companion vessels in the human body as an example. Nerves and blood vessels usually travel together and in the most direct way towards their targets. Human embryology, histology, and gross anatomy suggest that there are many possible positions for these structures during development. However, for mechanical reasons, tougher or stronger structures should take priority. Nerves are tougher than most other structures, followed by arteries, veins, and lymphatic vessels. Nerves should therefore follow the most direct route, and be followed by the arteries, veins, and lymphatic vessels. This general principle should be applicable to all living things.

Research Highlights

This study used nerves and their companion vessels in the human body as examples to investigate the principles governing the relative positioning of structures within organisms. Tougher or stronger structures take priority for mechanical reasons. The results can help to explain the arrangements of local blood vessels and nerves.

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