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Intestine, Small: The portion of the Gastrointestinal tract between the Pylorus of the Stomach and the Ileocecal valve of the Large intestine. It is divisible into three portions: the Duodenum, the Jejunum, and the Ileum.

Anatomy of the Intestines

JoVE 10830

Although digestion of proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids may begin in the stomach, it is completed in the intestine. The absorption of nutrients, water, and electrolytes from food and drink also occur in the intestine. The intestines can be divided into two structurally distinct organs—the small and large intestines.

The small intestine is an ~22 meter-long tube with an inner diameter of just 2.5 cm. Since most nutrients are absorbed here, the inner lining of the small intestine is highly convoluted and covered in finger-like extensions called villi, each containing hundreds of microvilli. The folds, villi, and microvilli of the small intestine amplify the surface area of absorption 60 to 120 times. The increased surface area provides ample opportunity for nutrients to be absorbed. The small intestine connects to the stomach by the pyloric sphincter, which closes off when chyme moves into the duodenum—the beginning of the small intestine. The middle and largest part of the small intestine is the jejunum. The ileum ends the small intestine, where it attaches to the large intestine by the ileocecal valve. The large intestine starts at the cecum. The appendix, a small lymphatic structure, dangles from the bottom of the cecum. Above the cecum, starts the ascending colon followed by the transverse colon. They absorb most of the remaining

 Core: Biology

The C. elegans Intestine As a Model for Intercellular Lumen Morphogenesis and In Vivo Polarized Membrane Biogenesis at the Single-cell Level: Labeling by Antibody Staining, RNAi Loss-of-function Analysis and Imaging

1Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center, Developmental Biology and Genetics Core, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 2College of Life Sciences, Jilin University, 3Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Macau

JoVE 56100

 Developmental Biology

Hormonal Regulation

JoVE 10836

Hormones regulate a significant portion of digestion through activation of the neuroendocrine system. The neuroendocrine system of digestion contains many different hormones all with multiple functions that are both, directly and indirectly, involved in digestion.

Starting in the stomach, when proteins are detected by sensory neurons of the enteric nervous system, the pyloric gland is stimulated to release gastrin. In turn, this hormone induces the release of histamine. Combined, they initiate the production of hydrochloric acid which facilitates digestion—turning food into chyme. When the pH of the stomach becomes more acidic, a negative feedback loop halts the production of both hormones. The chyme then moves to the duodenum, where several hormones are released—each with multiple functions. Some inhibit digestion in the stomach. Gastric inhibitory peptide (GIP) slows stomach churning. Secretin inhibits gastric juice production and, along with cholecystokinin (CCK), induces the pyloric sphincter between the stomach and duodenum to close. This limits the volume of chyme in the duodenum, pacing the rate of digestion. Once the chyme is in the duodenum, secretin prompts the release of bicarbonate from the pancreas. This reduces the acidity of the chyme, protecting the sensitive lining of the duodenum and setting up an optimal environment

 Core: Biology

Adult Stem Cells

JoVE 10810

Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that divide and produce more stem cells or progenitor cells that differentiate into mature, specialized cell types. All the cells in the body are generated from stem cells in the early embryo, but small populations of stem cells are also present in many adult tissues including the bone marrow, brain, skin, and gut. These adult stem cells typically produce the various cell types found in that tissue—to replace cells that are damaged or to continuously renew the tissue. The epithelium lining the small intestine is continuously renewed by adult stem cells. It is the most rapidly replaced tissue in the human body, with most cells being replaced within 3-5 days. The intestinal epithelium consists of thousands of villi that protrude into the interior of the small intestine—increasing its surface area to aid in the absorption of nutrients. Intestinal stem cells are located at the base of invaginations called crypts that lie between the villi. They divide to produce new stem cells, as well as daughter cells (called transit amplifying cells) that divide rapidly, move up the villi and differentiate into all the cell types in the intestinal epithelium, including absorptive, goblet, enteroendocrine, and Paneth cells. These mature cells continue to move up the villi as they carry out their functions, except Paneth cell

 Core: Biology

Protein Digestion

JoVE 10833

Protein digestion begins in the stomach, where the highly acidic environment can easily disrupt protein structure by exposing the peptide bonds of polypeptide chains. After polypeptide chains are broken into individual amino acids by a series of digestive enzymes, the amino acids are transported to the liver via the bloodstream to produce energy.

Pepsin is a protease, or protein-digesting enzyme, that is produced in the stomach and is one of the main digestive enzymes in the human digestive system. Working in conjunction with chymotrypsin and trypsin released in the small intestine, pepsin severs the links between specific types of amino acids to form shorter polypeptide chains. Other enzymes, called peptidases, then split off one amino acid at a time from the ends of these polypeptide chains. The small intestine can easily absorb the resulting amino acids. The liver plays an essential role in the metabolism of proteins. Liver cells alter digested amino acids from the small intestine so that they can be used to produce energy or make carbohydrates and fats. A byproduct of this process is a toxic substance called ammonia, which the liver then converts into a much less toxic substance called urea. Urea is then released into the blood and transported to the kidneys, which excrete urea out of the body through urine.

 Core: Biology

Accessory Organs

JoVE 10831

Accessory organs are those that participate in the digestion of food but do not come into direct contact with it like the mouth, stomach, or intestine do. Accessory organs secrete enzymes into the digestive tract to facilitate the breakdown of food.

Salivary glands secrete saliva—a complex liquid containing in part water, mucus, and amylase. Amylase is a digestive enzyme that begins breaking down starches and other carbohydrates even before they reach the stomach. The liver, gallbladder, and pancreas are the other accessory organs involved in digestion. All three secrete enzymes into the duodenum of the small intestine via a series of channels called the biliary tree. The liver and gallbladder work together to release bile into the duodenum. The liver produces bile, but it is stored in the gallbladder for secretion when needed. Bile is a mixture of water, bile salts, cholesterol, and bilirubin. Bile salts contain hydrophobic areas and hydrophilic areas which allows it to engage with both fats and water. Thus it breaks down large fat globules into smaller ones—a process called emulsification. Bilirubin is a waste product that accumulates when the liver breaks hemoglobin from red blood cells. The globin is recycled and the heme, which contains iron, is excreted in the bile. The presence of bilirubin is what gives feces its brown color

 Core: Biology

pH

JoVE 10669

The potential for a solution to donate or accept hydrogen ions determines whether it is an acid or a base. Acidic solutions donate protons, whereas bases or alkaline solutions can accept protons. Pure water has equal numbers of hydrogen ions to give protons and hydroxide ions to receive them, making it a neutral solution.

pH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of a water-based solution, determined by the concentration of hydrogen ions. In one liter of pure water, there are 1x10-7 moles of hydrogen ions. However, the extensive range of hydrogen ion concentrations present in water-based solutions makes measuring pH in moles cumbersome. Thus, a pH scale was developed in which moles of hydrogen ions are converted using the negative of the base 10 logarithm. The pH of pure water, then, is 7, representing a neutral solution. Most solutions have a pH between 0 and 14, but some solutions, like carborane (with a pH of -18), exceed this. One liter of carborane has 1x1018 moles of hydrogen ions. When free, unbound hydrogen ions accumulate, as with carborane, the solution is acidic, and the pH value falls below 7. Coffee, lemon juice, and gastric acid (digestive juices) are acidic solutions, with pHs around 4.5, 2.5, and 1.5, respectively. Solutions with pH values above 7 have lower hydrogen ion concentrations and are alkaline. In

 Core: Biology

Preparing and Administering Oral Tablet and Liquid Medications

JoVE 10258

Source: Madeline Lassche, MSNEd, RN and Katie Baraki, MSN, RN, College of Nursing, University of Utah, UT



Oral medications are the route most preferred by patients and are one of the most commonly used routes of medication administration by providers. Most oral preparations are taken by mouth, swallowed with fluid, and…

 Nursing Skills

Lipid Digestion

JoVE 10832

Lipids are large molecules that are generally not water-soluble. Since most of the digestive enzymes in the human body are water-based, there are specific steps the body must take to break down lipids and make them available for use.

Lingual lipase is an enzyme secreted by the acinar cells of the sublingual gland that aids lipid digestion. Although found in saliva, it plays only a minimal role in breaking down lipids in the mouth. Interestingly, lingual lipase has a pH optimum of 3.5-6.0 and is not activated until chewed food enters the acidic environment of the stomach. Gastric lipase is an acidic lipase that is secreted by the gastric chief cells in the lining of the stomach. Lingual lipase and gastric lipase comprise the two acidic lipases found in the human digestive system. These lipases are active in the stomach but rapidly inactivated by bile acids in the duodenum. Together, gastric lipase and lingual lipase account for 10-30% of lipid hydrolysis that occurs in human adults, with gastric lipase contributing the most. Given the low concentrations of pancreatic lipase and bile salts in the neonatal phase, the acidic lipases are critical for lipid digestion and account for 50% of lipid hydrolysis in neonates. Bile contains bile salts, lecithin, and cholesterol-derived substances, so it acts as an emulsifier in the duodenum of the small i

 Core: Biology
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