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Anatomy and
 Physiology
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY




The gastrointestinal tract (GIT) consists of a
hollow muscular tube starting from the oral
cavity, where food enters the mouth, continuing
through the pharynx, oesophagus, stomach and
intestines to the rectum and anus, where food is
expelled. There are various accessory organs that
assist the tract by secreting enzymes to help
break down food into its component nutrients.
Thus the salivary glands, liver, pancreas and gall
bladder have important functions in the digestive
system. Food is propelled along the length of the
GIT by peristaltic movements of the muscular
walls.
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY



The primary purpose of the gastrointestinal tract
  is to break food down into nutrients, which can
be absorbed into the body to provide energy. First
     food must be ingested into the mouth to be
mechanically processed and moistened. Secondly,
digestion occurs mainly in the stomach and small
 intestine where proteins, fats and carbohydrates
    are chemically broken down into their basic
    building blocks. Smaller molecules are then
    absorbed across the epithelium of the small
 intestine and subsequently enter the circulation.
The large intestine plays a key role in reabsorbing
   excess water. Finally, undigested material and
   secreted waste products are excreted from the
       body via defecation (passing of feces).
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY




    In the case of gastrointestinal disease or
disorders, these functions of the gastrointestinal
tract are not achieved successfully. Patients may
develop symptoms of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea,
   malabsorption, constipation or obstruction.
Gastrointestinal problems are very common and
 most people will have experienced some of the
 above symptoms several times throughout their
                      lives.
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY


                   Four Layers of the Wall


Mucosa
The innermost layer of the digestive tract has specialized epithelial cells
supported by an underlying connective tissue layer called the lamina
propria. The lamina propria contains blood vessels, nerves, lymphoid
tissue and glands that support the mucosa. Depending on its function,
the epithelium may be simple (a single layer) or stratified (multiple
layers).
Areas such as the mouth and esophagus are covered by a stratified
squamous (flat) epithelium so they can survive the wear and tear of
passing food. Simple columnar (tall) or glandular epithelium lines the
stomach and intestines to aid secretion and absorption. The inner lining
is constantly shed and replaced, making it one of the most rapidly
dividing areas of the body! Beneath the lamina propria is the muscularis
mucosa. This comprises layers of smooth muscle which can contract to
change the shape of the lumen.
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY


           Four Layers of the Wall




Submucosa
The submucosa surrounds the muscularis
mucosa and consists of fat, fibrous connective
tissue and larger vessels and nerves. At its
outer margin there is a specialized nerve
plexus called the submucosal plexus or
Meissner plexus. This supplies the mucosa and
submucosa.
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY


           Four Layers of the Wall




Muscularis externa
This smooth muscle layer has inner circular
and outer longitudinal layers of muscle fibers
separated by the myenteric plexus or Auerbach
plexus. Neural innervations control the
contraction of these muscles and hence the
mechanical breakdown and peristalsis of the
food within the lumen.
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY


         Four Layers of the Wall




Serosa/ Mesentery
The outer layer of the GIT is formed
by fat and another layer of epithelial
cells called mesothelium.
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY

  Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal
                   System

Oral cavity
The oral cavity or mouth is responsible for the intake of food. It is lined
by a stratified squamous oral mucosa with keratin covering those areas
subject to significant abrasion, such as the tongue, hard palate and roof
of the mouth. Mastication refers to the mechanical breakdown of food
by chewing and chopping actions of the teeth. The tongue, a strong
muscular organ, manipulates the food bolus to come in contact with the
teeth. It is also the sensing organ of the mouth for touch, temperature
and taste using its specialized sensors known as papillae.
Insalivation refers to the mixing of the oral cavity contents with salivary
gland secretions. The mucin (a glycoprotein) in saliva acts as a
lubricant. The oral cavity also plays a limited role in the digestion of
carbohydrates. The enzyme serum amylase, a component of saliva,
starts the process of digestion of complex carbohydrates. The final
function of the oral cavity is absorption of small molecules such as
glucose and water, across the mucosa. From the mouth, food passes
through the pharynx and esophagus via the action of swallowing.
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY

Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal
                 System

Salivary glands
Three pairs of salivary glands communicate with the oral
cavity. Each is a complex gland with numerous acini
lined by secretory epithelium. The acini secrete their
contents into specialized ducts. Each gland is divided
into smaller segments called lobes. Salivation occurs in
response to the taste, smell or even appearance of food.
This occurs due to nerve signals that tell the salivary
glands to secrete saliva to prepare and moisten the
mouth. Each pair of salivary glands secretes saliva with
slightly different compositions.
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY

Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal
                 System
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY


                  Salivary glands


Parotids
The parotid glands are large, irregular shaped glands
located under the skin on the side of the face. They
secrete 25% of saliva. They are situated below the
zygomatic arch (cheekbone) and cover part of the
mandible (lower jaw bone). An enlarged parotid gland
can be easier felt when one clenches their teeth. The
parotids produce a watery secretion which is also rich in
proteins. Immunoglobins are secreted help to fight
microorganisms and a-amylase proteins start to break
down complex carbohydrates.
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY


                  Salivary glands


Submandibular
The submandibular glands secrete 70% of the saliva in
the mouth. They are found in the floor of the mouth, in a
groove along the inner surface of the mandible. These
glands produce a more viscid (thick) secretion, rich in
mucin and with a smaller amount of protein. Mucin is a
glycoprotein that acts as a lubricant.
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY


                  Salivary glands


Sublingual
The sublinguals are the smallest salivary glands, covered
by a thin layer of tissue at the floor of the mouth. They
produce approximately 5% of the saliva and their
secretions are very sticky due to the large concentration
of mucin. The main functions are to provide buffers and
lubrication.
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY

Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal
                 System

Esophagus
The esophagus is a muscular tube of approximately
25cm in length and 2cm in diameter. It extends from the
pharynx to the stomach after passing through an opening
in the diaphragm. The wall of the esophagus is made up
of inner circular and outer longitudinal layers of muscle
that are supplied by the esophageal nerve plexus. This
nerve plexus surrounds the lower portion of the
esophagus. The esophagus functions primarily as a
transport medium between compartments.
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY

Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal
                 System

Stomach
The stomach is a J shaped expanded bag, located just
left of the midline between the esophagus and small
intestine. It is divided into four main regions and has two
borders called the greater and lesser curvatures. The first
section is the cardia which surrounds the cardial orifice
where the esophagus enters the stomach. The fundus is
the superior, dilated portion of the stomach that has
contact with the left dome of the diaphragm. The body is
the largest section between the fundus and the curved
portion of the J.
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY

 Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal
                  System
This is where most gastric glands are located and where most
mixing of the food occurs. Finally the pylorus is the curved base
of the stomach. Gastric contents are expelled into the proximal
duodenum via the pyloric sphincter. The inner surface of the
stomach is contracted into numerous longitudinal folds called
rugae. These allow the stomach to stretch and expand when
food enters. The stomach can hold up to 1.5 Liters of materials.
The functions of the stomach include:
The short-term storage of ingested food.
Mechanical breakdown of food by churning and mixing motions.
Chemical digestion of proteins by acids and enzymes.
Stomach acid kills bugs and germs.
Some absorption of substances such as alcohol.
Most of these functions are achieved by the secretion of
stomach juices by gastric glands in the body and fundus. Some
cells are responsible for secreting acid and others secrete
enzymes to break down proteins.
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY

 Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal
                  System

Small Intestine
The small intestine is composed of the duodenum, jejunum,
and ileum. It averages approximately 6m in length, extending
from the pyloric sphincter of the stomach to the ileo-caecal
valve separating the ileum from the cecum. The small intestine
is compressed into numerous folds and occupies a large
proportion of the abdominal cavity.
The duodenum is the proximal C-shaped section that curves
around the head of the pancreas. The duodenum serves a
mixing function as it combines digestive secretions from the
pancreas and liver with the contents expelled from the
stomach. The start of the jejunum is marked by a sharp bend,
the duodenojejunal flexure. It is in the jejunum where the
majority of digestion and absorption occurs. The final portion,
the ileum, is the longest segment and empties into the cecum
at the ileocaecal junction.
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY

Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal
                 System
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY

 Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal
                  System
The small intestine performs the majority of digestion and
absorption of nutrients. Partly digested food from the stomach
is further broken down by enzymes from the pancreas and bile
salts from the liver and gallbladder. These secretions enter the
duodenum at the Ampulla of Vater. After further digestion, food
constituents such as proteins, fats, and carbohydrates are
broken down to small building blocks and absorbed into the
body's blood stream.
The lining of the small intestine is made up of numerous
permanent folds called plicae circulares. Each plica has
numerous villi (folds of mucosa) and each villus is covered by
epithelium with projecting microvilli (brush border). This
increases the surface area for absorption by a factor of several
hundred. The mucosa of the small intestine contains several
specialized cells. Some are responsible for absorption, whilst
others secrete digestive enzymes and mucous to protect the
intestinal lining from digestive actions.
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY

  Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal
                   System

Large Intestine
The large intestine is horse-shoe shaped and extends around
the small intestine like a frame. It consists of the appendix,
cecum, ascending, transverse, descending and sigmoid colon,
and the rectum. It has a length of approximately 1.5m and a
width of 7.5cm.
The cecum is the expanded pouch that receives material from
the ileum and starts to compress food products into fecal
material. Food then travels along the colon. The wall of the
colon is made up of several pouches (haustra) that are held
under tension by three thick bands of muscle (taenia coli).
The rectum is the final 15cm of the large intestine. It expands to
hold faecal matter before it passes through the anorectal canal
to the anus. Thick bands of muscle, known as sphincters,
control the passage of feces.
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY

Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal
                 System
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY

Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal
                 System



The mucosa of the large intestine lacks villi seen in the small
intestine. The mucosal surface is flat with several deep
intestinal glands. Numerous goblet cells line the glands that
secrete mucous to lubricate faecal matter as it solidifies.

The functions of the large intestine can be summarized as:
The accumulation of unabsorbed material to form feces.
Some digestion by bacteria. The bacteria are responsible for
the formation of intestinal gas.
Reabsorption of water, salts, sugar and vitamins.
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY

 Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal
                  System
Liver
The liver is a large, reddish-brown organ situated in the right
upper quadrant of the abdomen. It is surrounded by a strong
capsule and divided into four lobes namely the right, left,
caudate and quadrate lobes. The liver has several important
functions. It acts as a mechanical filter by filtering blood that
travels from the intestinal system. It detoxifies several
metabolites including the breakdown of bilirubin and estrogen.
In addition, the liver has synthetic functions, producing albumin
and blood clotting factors. However, its main roles in digestion
are in the production of bile and metabolism of nutrients. All
nutrients absorbed by the intestines pass through the liver and
are processed before traveling to the rest of the body. The bile
produced by cells of the liver, enters the intestines at the
duodenum. Here, bile salts break down lipids into smaller
particles so there is a greater surface area for digestive
enzymes to act.
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY

  Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal
                   System

Gall bladder
The gallbladder is a hollow, pear shaped organ that sits in a
depression on the posterior surface of the liver's right lobe. It
consists of a fundus, body and neck. It empties via the cystic
duct into the biliary duct system. The main functions of the gall
bladder are storage and concentration of bile. Bile is a thick
fluid that contains enzymes to help dissolve fat in the intestines.
Bile is produced by the liver but stored in the gallbladder until it
is needed. Bile is released from the gall bladder by contraction
of its muscular walls in response to hormone signals from the
duodenum in the presence of food.
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY

 Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal
                  System

Pancreas
Finally, the pancreas is a lobular, pinkish-grey organ that lies
behind the stomach. Its head communicates with the
duodenum and its tail extends to the spleen. The organ is
approximately 15cm in length with a long, slender body
connecting the head and tail segments. The pancreas has both
exocrine and endocrine functions. Endocrine refers to
production of hormones which occurs in the Islets of
Langerhans. The Islets produce insulin, glucagon and other
substances and these are the areas damaged in diabetes
mellitus. The exocrine (secretrory) portion makes up 80-85% of
the pancreas and is the area relevant to the gastrointestinal
tract.
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY

  Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal
                   System



It is made up of numerous acini (small glands) that secrete
contents into ducts which eventually lead to the duodenum. The
pancreas secretes fluid rich in carbohydrates and inactive
enzymes. Secretion is triggered by the hormones released by
the duodenum in the presence of food. Pancreatic enzymes
include carbohydrases, lipases, nucleases and proteolytic
enzymes that can break down different components of food.
These are secreted in an inactive form to prevent digestion of
the pancreas itself. The enzymes become active once they
reach the duodenum.

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Digestive tract anatomy and physiology overview

  • 2. ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY The gastrointestinal tract (GIT) consists of a hollow muscular tube starting from the oral cavity, where food enters the mouth, continuing through the pharynx, oesophagus, stomach and intestines to the rectum and anus, where food is expelled. There are various accessory organs that assist the tract by secreting enzymes to help break down food into its component nutrients. Thus the salivary glands, liver, pancreas and gall bladder have important functions in the digestive system. Food is propelled along the length of the GIT by peristaltic movements of the muscular walls.
  • 3. ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY The primary purpose of the gastrointestinal tract is to break food down into nutrients, which can be absorbed into the body to provide energy. First food must be ingested into the mouth to be mechanically processed and moistened. Secondly, digestion occurs mainly in the stomach and small intestine where proteins, fats and carbohydrates are chemically broken down into their basic building blocks. Smaller molecules are then absorbed across the epithelium of the small intestine and subsequently enter the circulation. The large intestine plays a key role in reabsorbing excess water. Finally, undigested material and secreted waste products are excreted from the body via defecation (passing of feces).
  • 4. ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY In the case of gastrointestinal disease or disorders, these functions of the gastrointestinal tract are not achieved successfully. Patients may develop symptoms of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, malabsorption, constipation or obstruction. Gastrointestinal problems are very common and most people will have experienced some of the above symptoms several times throughout their lives.
  • 5. ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY Four Layers of the Wall Mucosa The innermost layer of the digestive tract has specialized epithelial cells supported by an underlying connective tissue layer called the lamina propria. The lamina propria contains blood vessels, nerves, lymphoid tissue and glands that support the mucosa. Depending on its function, the epithelium may be simple (a single layer) or stratified (multiple layers). Areas such as the mouth and esophagus are covered by a stratified squamous (flat) epithelium so they can survive the wear and tear of passing food. Simple columnar (tall) or glandular epithelium lines the stomach and intestines to aid secretion and absorption. The inner lining is constantly shed and replaced, making it one of the most rapidly dividing areas of the body! Beneath the lamina propria is the muscularis mucosa. This comprises layers of smooth muscle which can contract to change the shape of the lumen.
  • 7. ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY Four Layers of the Wall Submucosa The submucosa surrounds the muscularis mucosa and consists of fat, fibrous connective tissue and larger vessels and nerves. At its outer margin there is a specialized nerve plexus called the submucosal plexus or Meissner plexus. This supplies the mucosa and submucosa.
  • 8. ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY Four Layers of the Wall Muscularis externa This smooth muscle layer has inner circular and outer longitudinal layers of muscle fibers separated by the myenteric plexus or Auerbach plexus. Neural innervations control the contraction of these muscles and hence the mechanical breakdown and peristalsis of the food within the lumen.
  • 9. ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY Four Layers of the Wall Serosa/ Mesentery The outer layer of the GIT is formed by fat and another layer of epithelial cells called mesothelium.
  • 10. ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal System Oral cavity The oral cavity or mouth is responsible for the intake of food. It is lined by a stratified squamous oral mucosa with keratin covering those areas subject to significant abrasion, such as the tongue, hard palate and roof of the mouth. Mastication refers to the mechanical breakdown of food by chewing and chopping actions of the teeth. The tongue, a strong muscular organ, manipulates the food bolus to come in contact with the teeth. It is also the sensing organ of the mouth for touch, temperature and taste using its specialized sensors known as papillae. Insalivation refers to the mixing of the oral cavity contents with salivary gland secretions. The mucin (a glycoprotein) in saliva acts as a lubricant. The oral cavity also plays a limited role in the digestion of carbohydrates. The enzyme serum amylase, a component of saliva, starts the process of digestion of complex carbohydrates. The final function of the oral cavity is absorption of small molecules such as glucose and water, across the mucosa. From the mouth, food passes through the pharynx and esophagus via the action of swallowing.
  • 11. ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal System Salivary glands Three pairs of salivary glands communicate with the oral cavity. Each is a complex gland with numerous acini lined by secretory epithelium. The acini secrete their contents into specialized ducts. Each gland is divided into smaller segments called lobes. Salivation occurs in response to the taste, smell or even appearance of food. This occurs due to nerve signals that tell the salivary glands to secrete saliva to prepare and moisten the mouth. Each pair of salivary glands secretes saliva with slightly different compositions.
  • 12. ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal System
  • 13. ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY Salivary glands Parotids The parotid glands are large, irregular shaped glands located under the skin on the side of the face. They secrete 25% of saliva. They are situated below the zygomatic arch (cheekbone) and cover part of the mandible (lower jaw bone). An enlarged parotid gland can be easier felt when one clenches their teeth. The parotids produce a watery secretion which is also rich in proteins. Immunoglobins are secreted help to fight microorganisms and a-amylase proteins start to break down complex carbohydrates.
  • 14. ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY Salivary glands Submandibular The submandibular glands secrete 70% of the saliva in the mouth. They are found in the floor of the mouth, in a groove along the inner surface of the mandible. These glands produce a more viscid (thick) secretion, rich in mucin and with a smaller amount of protein. Mucin is a glycoprotein that acts as a lubricant.
  • 15. ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY Salivary glands Sublingual The sublinguals are the smallest salivary glands, covered by a thin layer of tissue at the floor of the mouth. They produce approximately 5% of the saliva and their secretions are very sticky due to the large concentration of mucin. The main functions are to provide buffers and lubrication.
  • 16. ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal System Esophagus The esophagus is a muscular tube of approximately 25cm in length and 2cm in diameter. It extends from the pharynx to the stomach after passing through an opening in the diaphragm. The wall of the esophagus is made up of inner circular and outer longitudinal layers of muscle that are supplied by the esophageal nerve plexus. This nerve plexus surrounds the lower portion of the esophagus. The esophagus functions primarily as a transport medium between compartments.
  • 17. ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal System Stomach The stomach is a J shaped expanded bag, located just left of the midline between the esophagus and small intestine. It is divided into four main regions and has two borders called the greater and lesser curvatures. The first section is the cardia which surrounds the cardial orifice where the esophagus enters the stomach. The fundus is the superior, dilated portion of the stomach that has contact with the left dome of the diaphragm. The body is the largest section between the fundus and the curved portion of the J.
  • 18. ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal System This is where most gastric glands are located and where most mixing of the food occurs. Finally the pylorus is the curved base of the stomach. Gastric contents are expelled into the proximal duodenum via the pyloric sphincter. The inner surface of the stomach is contracted into numerous longitudinal folds called rugae. These allow the stomach to stretch and expand when food enters. The stomach can hold up to 1.5 Liters of materials. The functions of the stomach include: The short-term storage of ingested food. Mechanical breakdown of food by churning and mixing motions. Chemical digestion of proteins by acids and enzymes. Stomach acid kills bugs and germs. Some absorption of substances such as alcohol. Most of these functions are achieved by the secretion of stomach juices by gastric glands in the body and fundus. Some cells are responsible for secreting acid and others secrete enzymes to break down proteins.
  • 19. ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal System Small Intestine The small intestine is composed of the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. It averages approximately 6m in length, extending from the pyloric sphincter of the stomach to the ileo-caecal valve separating the ileum from the cecum. The small intestine is compressed into numerous folds and occupies a large proportion of the abdominal cavity. The duodenum is the proximal C-shaped section that curves around the head of the pancreas. The duodenum serves a mixing function as it combines digestive secretions from the pancreas and liver with the contents expelled from the stomach. The start of the jejunum is marked by a sharp bend, the duodenojejunal flexure. It is in the jejunum where the majority of digestion and absorption occurs. The final portion, the ileum, is the longest segment and empties into the cecum at the ileocaecal junction.
  • 20. ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal System
  • 21. ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal System The small intestine performs the majority of digestion and absorption of nutrients. Partly digested food from the stomach is further broken down by enzymes from the pancreas and bile salts from the liver and gallbladder. These secretions enter the duodenum at the Ampulla of Vater. After further digestion, food constituents such as proteins, fats, and carbohydrates are broken down to small building blocks and absorbed into the body's blood stream. The lining of the small intestine is made up of numerous permanent folds called plicae circulares. Each plica has numerous villi (folds of mucosa) and each villus is covered by epithelium with projecting microvilli (brush border). This increases the surface area for absorption by a factor of several hundred. The mucosa of the small intestine contains several specialized cells. Some are responsible for absorption, whilst others secrete digestive enzymes and mucous to protect the intestinal lining from digestive actions.
  • 22. ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal System Large Intestine The large intestine is horse-shoe shaped and extends around the small intestine like a frame. It consists of the appendix, cecum, ascending, transverse, descending and sigmoid colon, and the rectum. It has a length of approximately 1.5m and a width of 7.5cm. The cecum is the expanded pouch that receives material from the ileum and starts to compress food products into fecal material. Food then travels along the colon. The wall of the colon is made up of several pouches (haustra) that are held under tension by three thick bands of muscle (taenia coli). The rectum is the final 15cm of the large intestine. It expands to hold faecal matter before it passes through the anorectal canal to the anus. Thick bands of muscle, known as sphincters, control the passage of feces.
  • 23. ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal System
  • 24. ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal System The mucosa of the large intestine lacks villi seen in the small intestine. The mucosal surface is flat with several deep intestinal glands. Numerous goblet cells line the glands that secrete mucous to lubricate faecal matter as it solidifies. The functions of the large intestine can be summarized as: The accumulation of unabsorbed material to form feces. Some digestion by bacteria. The bacteria are responsible for the formation of intestinal gas. Reabsorption of water, salts, sugar and vitamins.
  • 25. ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal System Liver The liver is a large, reddish-brown organ situated in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen. It is surrounded by a strong capsule and divided into four lobes namely the right, left, caudate and quadrate lobes. The liver has several important functions. It acts as a mechanical filter by filtering blood that travels from the intestinal system. It detoxifies several metabolites including the breakdown of bilirubin and estrogen. In addition, the liver has synthetic functions, producing albumin and blood clotting factors. However, its main roles in digestion are in the production of bile and metabolism of nutrients. All nutrients absorbed by the intestines pass through the liver and are processed before traveling to the rest of the body. The bile produced by cells of the liver, enters the intestines at the duodenum. Here, bile salts break down lipids into smaller particles so there is a greater surface area for digestive enzymes to act.
  • 26. ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal System Gall bladder The gallbladder is a hollow, pear shaped organ that sits in a depression on the posterior surface of the liver's right lobe. It consists of a fundus, body and neck. It empties via the cystic duct into the biliary duct system. The main functions of the gall bladder are storage and concentration of bile. Bile is a thick fluid that contains enzymes to help dissolve fat in the intestines. Bile is produced by the liver but stored in the gallbladder until it is needed. Bile is released from the gall bladder by contraction of its muscular walls in response to hormone signals from the duodenum in the presence of food.
  • 27. ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal System Pancreas Finally, the pancreas is a lobular, pinkish-grey organ that lies behind the stomach. Its head communicates with the duodenum and its tail extends to the spleen. The organ is approximately 15cm in length with a long, slender body connecting the head and tail segments. The pancreas has both exocrine and endocrine functions. Endocrine refers to production of hormones which occurs in the Islets of Langerhans. The Islets produce insulin, glucagon and other substances and these are the areas damaged in diabetes mellitus. The exocrine (secretrory) portion makes up 80-85% of the pancreas and is the area relevant to the gastrointestinal tract.
  • 28. ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY Individual Components of the Gastrointestinal System It is made up of numerous acini (small glands) that secrete contents into ducts which eventually lead to the duodenum. The pancreas secretes fluid rich in carbohydrates and inactive enzymes. Secretion is triggered by the hormones released by the duodenum in the presence of food. Pancreatic enzymes include carbohydrases, lipases, nucleases and proteolytic enzymes that can break down different components of food. These are secreted in an inactive form to prevent digestion of the pancreas itself. The enzymes become active once they reach the duodenum.