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The Digestive System

Functions of the Digestive


System

Ingest food

Break down food into nutrient molecules

Absorb molecules into the bloodstream

Rid the body of indigestible remains

Main Divisions of the Digestive


System

Alimentary Canal

Continuous, muscular digestive tube winding


throughout the body
Digests and absorbs food particles
Contains the following organs:

Mouth, Pharynx, Esophagus, Stomach, Small and Large


Intestines

Accessory Digestive Organs

Contains the following organs:

Teeth, Tongue, Gallbladder, Salivary Glands, Liver, and


Pancreas

Digestive System Divisions

Digestive Processes

Ingestion
Propulsion
Mechanical
digestion
Chemical digestion
Absorption
Defecation

Circulation of the Alimentary


Canal/GI Tract

Splanchnic Circulation

Includes all arteries branching off the


abdominal aorta and the hepatic portal
circulation
Arterial supply:
Celiac Trunk (hepatic, splenic, and left gastric)
Mesenteric Arteries: sup. and inf.

Receives of the blood volume (CO);


increases after a meal

Histology of the Alimentary


Canal/GI Tract

From esophagus to anus, the walls of the


alimentary canal have the same 4 layers:

Mucosa (secretes hormones and mucus, absorbs


end products of digestion, and protects against
infection
Submucosa (contains lymphoid follicles and
elastic tissue)
Muscularis externa (segmentation and
peristalsis, contains inner circular layer and outer
longitudinal layer, area where valves are found)
Serosa (same as visceral peritoneum, made of
areolar connective tissue)

Histology of the GI Tract

Peritoneum
Peritoneum is the serous membrane lining the
abdominopelvic cavity
Visceral peritoneum covers the external surfaces
of most digestive organs and is continuous with the
parietal peritoneum that lines the body wall
Between the two peritoneums is the peritoneal
cavity
Mesentery is a double layer peritoneum; provides
routes for BV, lymphatics, nerves
Alimentary canal organs are classified as
Retroperitoneal - no mesentery and organs lies
posterior to the peritoneum (SADPUCKER)
Intraperitoneal - mesentery and organs lies

Features and Functions of the


Mouth

Buccal/oral cavity
Contains stratified squamous epithelium
Vestibule: area bounded by lips and
cheeks externally and teeth and gums
internally
Lips: posses no sweat or oil glands
Palate: forms roof of the mouth, soft
and hard palate, uvula

Anatomy of the Mouth

Features and Functions of the


Tongue

Helps grind food into a bolus which


contains partially digested food and
saliva
Helps form words and is a sensory organ
for taste
Three surface features:

Filiform papillae (roughness and grip)


Fungiform papillae (contains taste buds)
Circumvallate papillae (contains taste buds)

Anatomy of the Tongue

Features and Functions of the


Salivary Glands

Main functions:

Produces and secretes saliva


Cleanses the mouth
Dissolves food chemicals so they can be
tasted
Moistens food, compacting it into a bolus
Begins the chemical breakdown of food

Salivary amylase: starch

Types of Salivary Glands

Submandibular Glands

Sublingual Glands

Found underneath the tongue

Parotid Glands

Found underneath the mandible

Found anterior to the ear between masseter


and skin

Saliva travels to oral orifice via ducts from


all three glands

Anatomy of the Salivary


Glands

Composition of Saliva: 97-99.5%


water
pH 6.75-7.0
Sodium, potassium, chloride,
phosphate, and bicarbonate
Mucin
Salivary amylase

Features and Functions of the


Teeth

Break food into smaller parts,


increasing surface area for digestion
Types of Teeth

Deciduous Teeth (baby teeth)


Permanent Teeth
Incisors- cutting and shredding
Canines- piercing and tearing
Molars- grinding
Premolars- grinding and crushing

Tooth Structure

Crown: exposed
portion of tooth
covered by enamel
which covers dentin
Root: internal portion
that is beneath the
gums (gingiva) and is
anchored by
periodontal ligaments

Deglutition and the Pharynx

Deglutition = swallowing
Oropharynx and Laryngopharynx are common
passageways for food and air
Pharynx contains stratified squamous epithelium
(friction-resistant)

Features and Functions of the


Esophagus

Muscular tube that propels food to stomach;


bolus enters stomach through esophageal
hiatus
Skeletal muscle (upper third for swallowing)
and smooth muscle (lower third) for peristalsis
Esophageal glands produce mucus to
lubricate bolus
Esophageal sphincter prevents backflow into
oral cavity
Cardiac sphincter- prevents backflow into
esophagus

Anatomy of the Esophagus

Microscopic Anatomy of the


Esophagus

Digestive Processes in the


Mouth, Pharynx, and
Esophagus

Mouth processes:

Ingestion
Mechanical digestion (e.g. salivary amylase)
Initiation of Propulsion
Mastication: chewing

Pharyngeal processes:

Deglutition = swallowing

Voluntary Buccal phase


Involuntary Pharyngeal-Esophageal Phase

Esophageal processes:

Peristalsis (rhythmic contractions, involuntary)

Deglutition and the Pharynx

Peristalsis

Features and Functions of the


Stomach

Temporary storage area for food and allows it to


mix with gastric juice to produce chyme
Regions: cardiac, fundus, body, and pyloric
Greater and Lesser Curvatures: connected
to greater and lesser omentums
Rugae folds: longitudinal folds in stomach wall
- mucous b/w folds
Muscle layers arranged circularly, longitudinally,
AND obliquely (aids in digestion)

Anatomy of the Stomach

Microscopic Anatomy of the


Stomach

Simple columnar epithelium contains gastric


pits that secrete gastric juices
Goblet cells secrete mucus that coats stomach
and prevents it from being digested itself
Parietal cells secrete hydrochloric acid
(converts pepsinogen into pepsin) and intrinsic
factor (necessary for absorption of vitamin B12)
Chief cells secrete pepsinogen which is
converted to pepsin to aid in protein digestion
Enteroendocrine cells release hormones such
as:

Histamine, Serotonin, Gastrin, Endorphins, and


Somatostatin

Histamine
- activates parietal cells to release HCl
Serotonin
- contraction of stomach muscle
Gastrin
- gastric glands to increase secretion
Endorphins
- natural opiates
Somatostatin
- sympathetic n.s.
- inhibits gastric secretion
- inhibits gastric emptying

Microscopic Anatomy of the


Digestive System

Digestive Processes in the


Stomach
Gastric Secretion

Cephalic Phase
Stimulated by the thought, sight, taste, or aroma
or food
Inputs from olfactory receptors and taste buds
travel to parasympathetic enteric ganglia which
then stimulate stomach glands
Gastric Phase
Stomach distension activates stretch receptors
Food chemicals (e.g. peptides, rising pH) activate
chemoreceptors which activate G cells which
secrete gastrin
Intestinal Phase
Presence of low pH and partially digested foods in
duodenum stimulates intestinal gastrin secretion

Digestive Processes in the


Stomach

Gastric Motility and


Emptying

Peristaltic waves approach stomach and become


stronger near pyloric region
Pyloric sphincter allows ~ 3 mL of chyme to pass
to duodenum and the rest to return to stomach
for further mixing

Features and Functions of the


Small Intestine

Receives chyme from stomach; performs


majority of digestion and absorption of
nutrients
Regions:

Duodenum (upper region receiving chyme from


stomach and digestive enzymes from pancreas
and bile from liver and gallbladder)
Jejunum/Ileum (lower regions where absorption
occurs)
Plicae circulares (permanent folds in mucosa
and submucosa that slow movement of chyme)

Anatomy of the Small


Intestine

Microscopic Anatomy of Small


Intestine

Villi: fingerlike projections that increase


the surface area of the SI
Microvilli: tiny projections on the plasma
membranes of columnar cells that appear
fuzzy (i.e. brush border cells)
Crypts of Lieberkuhn: secrete intestinal
juice and special lysozymes that protect
against bacteria
Peyers Patches: aggregated lymphoid
tissues containing lymphocytes

Microscopic Anatomy of the


Small Intestine

Secretions of the Small


Intestine

Secretin: released by enteroendocrine cells


when acidic chyme enters SI; causes release of
bicarbonate-rich pancreatic juices
Somatostatin: slows gastric motility and
emptying and inhibits production of gastric
secretions
Cholecystokinin (CCK): released when fatty,
protein-rich chyme enters SI; causes release of
enzyme-rich pancreatic juices and bile
Brush border enzymes: process long peptides,
nucleic acids, and sugars into smaller ones

After Digestion:
Absorption

Protein

Fats

Functions of the Liver

Largest internal organ


Functions:

Filters and processes nutrient-rich blood


of carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids
from intestine
Production and regulation of cholesterol
Production of bile which emulsifies fats
Removes drugs and hormones from
circulation
Storage of vitamins and minerals

Anatomy of the Liver

Right and Left Lobes: separated by


falciform ligament
Caudate and Quadrate Lobes: found on
posterior side
Blood vessels:

Hepatic artery/vein and hepatic portal vein

Gallbladder: found underneath left lobe,


stores bile

Gross Anatomy of the Liver

Microscopic Anatomy of the


Liver

Liver Lobules: structural unit of liver


Hepatocytes: liver cells contained within the lobules
Hepatic portal vein & Hepatic Artery : the
circulation of the liver, they bring blood into the liver
where it is filtered through the liver sinusoidal
capillaries
Kupffer cells: remove debris
Filtered blood drains into the central vein, then to the
hepatic vein, and eventually to the inferior vena cava
Bile (produced by hepatocytes) drains into the bile
duct after passing through portal triad
Bile then shipped to gallbladder for storage

Microscopic Anatomy of the


Liver

Microscopic Anatomy of the


Liver

Blood supply
- receives fresh O2 blood from
hepatic artery (off of aorta)
- receives deoxygenated blood with
nutrients (from small intestine)
- hepatic portal vein
- From liver- hepatic vein- inferior
vena cava
Hepatic portal vein, hepatic artery and
bile ducts make up the portal triad.

Function and Regulation of


Bile
Bile ducts are present at every portal triad
Bile flows down bile canaliculi (tiny canals)
between adjacent hepatocytes towards bile
duct branches at every portal triad
Bile enters the bile ducts which drain into
the common hepatic duct
Bile emulsifies fats, separating them into
smaller parts
Bilirubin: the chief bile pigment, a waste
product of the heme of hemoglobin formed
during the breakdown of worn-out
erythrocytes

Regulation of Bile
Production

Bile exits cystic duct


upon stimulation
CCK released when
acidic, fatty chyme
enters intestines
Causes:

Gallbladder Contraction
Pancreatic Juice Secretion
Relaxation of
hepatopancreatic
sphincter

Features and Functions of the


Pancreas

Pancreatic Juice secreted by acinar cells


Islets of Langerhans release insulin and
glucagon (important in glucose metabolism)
Pancreatic Juice contains:

Sodium Bicarbonate (buffers HCl in stomach)


Proteases (break down polypeptides)
Pancreatic amylase (digests oligosaccarides and
disaccharides into monosaccharides)
Pancreatic lipases (break down lipids into fatty
acids and glycerol)
Pancreatic nucleases (break down nucleic acids)

Anatomy of the Pancreas

Regulation of Pancreatic
Secretion

Features and Functions of the


Large Intestine

Functions:

Reabsorption of remaining water and


electrolytes
Production and absorption of Vitamins B
and K
Elimination of feces

Diameter is only 7 cm but is larger


than that of the small intestine

Gross Anatomy of the Large


Intestine

Teniae Coli: bands of smooth muscle that create


pocket-like sacs (haustra)
Cecum: sac-like connection between the small
and large intestines
Appendix: small structure containing lymphoid
tissue; small immune function
Ascending, Descending, Transverse, and
Sigmoid Colon
Splenic and hepatic flexure
Rectum: storage area
Anus: regulates defecation with two sphincter
muscles; internal and external

Anatomy of the Colon

Microscopic Anatomy of the


Large Intestine

Simple columnar epithelium for absorption


except in the anal canal where there is
stratified squamous
No villi, no digestive-secreting cells
Goblet cells produce mucus for lubrication
of feces
Bacterial flora synthesize vitamin B and
most of the vitamin K needed for blood
clotting

Microscopic Anatomy of the


Large Intestine

Summary of Digestion

Summary of Digestion

The Process of Absorption

Clinical corner

Peptic ulcers - gastric and duodenal, caused by


Helicobacter pylori, NSAIDS, Hcl hypersecretion
Cirrohsis - scarred liver due to chronic
inflammation
Hepatitis - A,B,C,D, and E
Biliary calculi - gall stones - crystals of
cholesterol in bile
Borborygmus - rumbling noise caused by gas
through intestines

Cholecystitis - inflammation of gall


bladder
Colitis - inflammation of colon
Dysphagia - difficulty in swallowing
Enteritis - inflammation of the
intestines Flatuation/erucation