Accessory Organs The Liver Gallbladder And Pancreas

The liver and the gallbladder are two important accessory digestive organs that work with the small intestine. The liver

Gallbladder With Microvilli
Figure 6.3 Villi and microvilli (illustrated here) act to increase the surface area of the small intestine, thus increasing the potential for nutrient absorption. Villi are finger-like projections on the surface of the intestine, and microvilli are smaller projections stemming from the villi.

has several important functions in the body. It regulates carbohydrate, protein, and lipid metabolism and detoxifies body wastes and drugs that have entered the body. In addition, the liver eliminates bilirubin, a waste product of dead red blood cells, by incorporating it into bile. This fluid, which is stored in the gallbladder, helps digestion by emulsifying fats into smaller molecules for absorption. Bile is composed of bile salts, cholesterol, and phospholipids, as well as other substances. The bile salts and lipids work to emulsify fats. When needed, bile is released from the gallbladder into the small intestine.

The pancreas produces hormones, digestive enzymes, and bicarbonate to deliver to the duodenum to help digestion. Insulin and glucagon are two pancreatic hormones that work within the body to control blood glucose levels.

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