Relationship of liver gallbladder and pancreas

Stomach, Gallbladder and Pancreas | Interactive Anatomy Guide

relationship of liver gallbladder and pancreas

Chemical digestion in the small intestine relies on the activities of three accessory digestive organs: the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder (Figure 1). The digestive. The stomach, gallbladder, and pancreas are three of the most important to the bile ducts of the liver through the cystic duct, the gallbladder receives bile. Learn about the wide range of conditions affecting the Liver, Pancreas and Gallbladder, as well as the comprehensive care delivered by Lourdes.

Lourdes GI doctors are highly knowledgeable and vigilant about the conditions related to the functions of the interconnected organs of pancreas, liver and gallbladder.

Range of Conditions Affecting These Organs Lourdes GI specialists serve as an important source for identifying or further diagnosing these conditions: It usually signals that the liver is not functioning well in its role of breaking down the iron-containing chemical in red blood cells that have aged, possibly signaling the presence of hepatitis or cirrhosis.

Or, it can be a sign of bile duct obstruction. Depending on their position, size and shape, and whether they shift position in the gallbladder, these stones can cause significant pain and can sometimes obstruct the bile duct. They can also cause nausea, vomiting, jaundice or symptoms of infection. Endoscopic or radiologic imaging can help to confirm the presence and nature of such stones.

Liver, Pancreas, Gallbladder Conditions

Lourdes GI specialists can offer treatments ranging from drugs to dissolve the stone, to shockwave treatment that breaks up the stone to endoscopic removal of the stone. They refer some patients to a Lourdes general surgeon for open or laparoscopic removal of the stone or gallbladder.

Eventually this can cause scarring and blockage of these ducts, which can lead to additional tissue damage. Eventually a person with this silent condition will become tired and disinterested in eating, and will experience nutritional problems, weight loss and jaundice.

relationship of liver gallbladder and pancreas

Endoscopic and radiologic imaging help to confirm the diagnosis of primary sclerosing cholangitis. The underlying condition cannot be treated, but Lourdes GI specialists can address the symptoms from itching to infection to nutritional deficiencies.

In addition, interventional specialists can use radiologic-guided procedures to reopen the bile ducts. Pancreas The pancreas is a 6-inch long heterocrine gland located inferior to the stomach and surrounded by the duodenum on its medial end.

This organ extends laterally from the duodenum toward the left side of the abdominal cavity, where it tapers to a point.


The pancreas is considered a heterocrine gland because it has both endocrine and exocrine gland functions. These enzymes together with water and sodium bicarbonate secreted from the pancreas are known as pancreatic juice. Physiology of the Stomach, Gallbladder, and Pancreas Digestion The stomach, gallbladder, and pancreas work together as a team to perform the majority of the digestion of food. Food entering the stomach from the esophagus has been minimally processed — it has been physically digested by chewing and moistened by saliva, but is chemically almost identical to unchewed food.

Upon entering the stomach, each mass of swallowed food comes into contact with the acidic gastric juice, which contains hydrochloric acid and the protein-digesting enzyme pepsin. These chemicals begin working on the chemical digestion of the molecules that make up the food.

At the same time, the food is mixed by the smooth muscles of the stomach wall to increase the amount of contact between the food and the gastric juice.

The secretions of the stomach also continue the process of moistening and physically softening the food until the food becomes an acidic semi-liquid material known as chyme.

At this point, the stomach begins to push the chyme through the pyloric sphincter and into the duodenum. In the duodenumthe bulk of digestion is completed thanks to the preparation of chyme by the stomach and the addition of secretions from the gallbladder and pancreas.

Bile from the gallbladder acts as an emulsifier to break large masses of fats into smaller masses. Pancreatic juice contains bicarbonate ions to neutralize the hydrochloric acid of chyme. Enzymes present in the pancreatic juice complete the chemical digestion of large molecules that began in the mouth and stomach.

relationship of liver gallbladder and pancreas

The completely digested food is then ready for absorption by the intestines. Storage The stomach, gallbladder, and pancreas all function together as storage organs of the digestive system.

The stomach stores food that has been ingested and releases it in small masses to the duodenum. The release of small masses of food at a time improves the digestive efficiency of the intestines, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas and prevents undigested food from making its way into feces. As they are accessory organs of the digestive system, the gallbladder and pancreas have no food passing through them.

They do, however, act as storage organs by storing the chemicals necessary for the chemical digestion of foods. The gallbladder stores bile produced by the liver so that there is a sufficient supply of bile on hand to digest fats at any given time. The pancreas stores the pancreatic juice produced by its own exocrine glands so that it is prepared to digest foods at all times. Secretion The stomach, gallbladder, and pancreas all share the common function of secretion of substances from exocrine glands.

The stomach contains 3 different exocrine cells inside of its gastric pits: Mucous cells produce mucus and bicarbonate ion that cover the surface of the stomach lining, protecting the underlying cells from the damaging effects of hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes.

relationship of liver gallbladder and pancreas

Parietal cells produce hydrochloric acid to digest foods and kill pathogens that enter the body through the mouth. Chief cells produce the protein pepsinogen that is turned into the enzyme pepsin when it comes into contact with hydrochloric acid. Pepsin digests proteins into their component amino acids. The mixture of mucus, hydrochloric acid, and pepsin is known as gastric juice.

Gastric juice mixes with food to produce chyme, which the stomach releases into the duodenum for further digestion. The gallbladder stores and secretes bile into the duodenum to aid in the digestion of chyme. A mixture of water, bile salts, cholesterol, and bilirubin, bile emulsifies large masses of fats into smaller masses. These smaller masses have a higher ratio of surface area to volume when compared to large masses, making it easier for them to be digested.

The pancreas stores and secretes pancreatic juice into the duodenum to complete the chemical digestion of food that began in the mouth and stomach. Pancreatic juice contains a mixture of enzymes including amylases, proteases, lipases, and nucleases. Carbohydrates entering the small intestine are broken down into monosaccharides by enzymes such as pancreatic amylase, maltase, and lactase.

Proteins in the duodenum are chemically digested into amino acids by pancreatic enzymes such as trypsin and carboxypeptidase.

relationship of liver gallbladder and pancreas

Pancreatic lipase breaks triglycerides into fatty acids and monoglycerides.