Gallbladder - what is, definition and function

Gallbladder - what is, definition and function

Gallbladder - a small, muscular pouch on the underside of the LIVER that concentrates and stores BILE. The gallbladder absorbs about 90 percent of the water in the bile that arrives from the liver, creating concentrated, potent bile. Fats and proteins in the chyme (partly digested food) the STOMACH sends to the DUODENUM trigger the duodenum to release the digestive HORMONE cholecystokinin (CCK). CCK stimulates the gallbladder to contract, expelling bile into the duodenum to aid with digestion. The most common health conditions that affect the gallbladder are cholelithiasis (gallstones), cholecystitis (INFLAMMATION of the gallbladder), and biliary dyskinesia (inadequate contraction of the gallbladder). CANCER of the gallbladder occurs though is rare.

For further discussion of the gallbladder within the context of gastrointestinal structure and function, please see the overview section “The Gastrointestinal System.”

See also CHOLECYSTECTOMY; DIGESTIVE HORMONES; GALLBLADDER DISEASE.

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The Gastrointestinal System

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