The accessory organs of digestion are illustrated in Figure 12-4. The liver is a large gland with many functions. A major part of its activity is to process blood brought to it by a special circulatory pathway called the hepatic portal system. Its role in digestion is the secretion of bile, which breaks down fats. Bile is stored in the gallbladder until needed. The common hepatic duct from the liver and the cystic duct from the gallbladder merge to form the common bile duct, which empties into the duodenum. The pancreas produces a mixture of digestive enzymes that is delivered into the duodenum through the pancreatic duct.
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This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.