Which organ of human body has longest life

  1. Hi,
    I am not biology student and I want to know this
    In our body, which organ can live for long time and how long it can live? also which is the organ with shortest life?
    Nowadays people talk about donating eyes, kidneys after their death. So I got this doubt, that whether these organs are usable in other person's body for infinite time or is there a finite life time for it? Though it depends on particular case to case, on an average or theoretically, can we say some period as life time for each organ?
  2. jcsd
  3. Um, they seem to all decay at the same time, at time of death. Are you talking about useful lifetime?

    If so we can immediately eliminate backbones, eyes and teeth.

    The brain, on the other hand, is debatable. Having been filled to capacity with anything useful by the age of 7, anything in addition must be jammed in edgewise, pushing out odd bits and pieces of the useful parts. Or perhaps I'm only suffering post 7-year-old senility in thinking this.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2010
  4. Transplanted kidneys may last up to 8 or 9 years, and a heart, up to 10. Their are many variables when predicting longevity of donated organs. New cellular treatments for graft rejection over the past 5 years, has made great progress. 80% of patients are expected to survive, compared to 50%, just 10 years ago.
  5. DaveC426913

    DaveC426913 16,071
    Gold Member

    Clarification please.

    You're asking about longest/shortest life of an organ...

    - in a normal living body?
    - outside a body?
    - once implanted in a recipient?
  6. Andy Resnick

    Andy Resnick 5,780
    Science Advisor

    Some people lose their backbones at a very early age :)

    Seriously, tho- organs are complex multi-tissue objects; individual cells in the body have ages ranging from very short (days) to years and decades- the lens in your eye was fully formed prior to birth, and so is *older* than you are. IIRC, it has recently been shown that nerve tissue and cardiac tissue regenerate.

    The amount of time an organ can be kept alive ex vivo generally depends on the metabolic activity- how much oxygen is needed to keep the organ functioning. Keeping the organ cold and in (IIRC) University of Wisconsin (UW) organ preservation solution helps stabilize the tissues. UW solution is a high-potassium solution that mimics the cytosol; this helps reduce the rate of apoptosis and organ degredation.


    By contrast, cartilage tissue, which has a very low metabolic rate, can be taken from 'old' cadavers.
  7. I'm impressed by your knowledge of biology, Resnick. I'd thought that experimentally grounded physics was your only forte and interest.
  8. Andy Resnick

    Andy Resnick 5,780
    Science Advisor


    I appreciate the sentiment, but there's lots of people here (PF) that know more than I, in any subforum. <mumbles something about lifelong learning>

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