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Anatomy of the large intestine

Anatomy of the large intestine

The large intestine is the last section of our digestive track.

Biology

Keywords

colon, large intestine, intestines, digestive tract, digestive system, feeding, digestion, absorption, appendix, cecum, ascending colon, transverse colon, descending colon, sigmoid colon, intestinal flora, intestinal mucosa, smooth muscle, rectum, anus, stool, peristalsis, human, anatomy, biology

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Scenes

Digestive system

  • pharynx - The oesophagus and the trachea start in this part of the human body.
  • oesophagus - It propels food towards the stomach with peristaltic waves. This peristaltic motion is produced by the synchronised motion of longitudinal and circular smooth muscle layers.
  • liver - It plays an important role in removing toxins from the body and storing nutrients. It is the largest gland in the human body: it produces bile, which does not contain digestive enzymes. Its function is to emulsify fat drops to increase their surface area thereby helping their digestion.
  • gallbladder - It stores the bile secreted by the liver and empties it into the small intestine. Bile emulsifies fat drops to increase their surface area and thereby helps their digestion.
  • cecum - The first section of the large intestine. No digestion takes place in it.
  • appendix - An extension of the caecum, it is a vestigial structure. It is a lymphoid organ. Its inflammation is called appendicitis, which is a life-threatening condition and requires surgery.
  • rectum - It is the last section of the large intestine. It absorbs water and plays an important role in forming the stool.
  • mouth cavity
  • salivary glands - They secrete saliva, which makes food wet for easy swallowing. It also contains a digestive enzyme (amylase) that starts the digestion of starch. Its bactericidal enzyme is lysozyme.
  • stomach - The final part of the upper digestive tract. Its enzyme, pepsin digests proteins. Pepsin is activated in an acidic environment (about pH 2), which is provided by hydrochloric acid, also secreted by the stomach. The peristalsis of the stomach wall mixes food and propels it to the small intestine.
  • pancreas - It secretes pancreatic juice which contains a variety of enzymes, including amylase (breaking down starch), trypsin and chymotrypsin (breaking down proteins) and lipase (breaking down fats). The pancreas also secretes hormones, the most important of these being insulin which reduces blood glucose levels.
  • small intestine - The enzymes of the intestinal juice and pancreatic juice content break down proteins, carbohydrates and fats in the small intestine. The digestion of fats is aided by the bile, secreted by the liver. The pH of the small intestine is slightly basic (about pH 8).
  • colon - It consists of four sections: the ascending colon, the transverse colon, the descending colon and the sigmoid colon. No digestion takes place in it. It is involved in the absorption of minerals and water. Certain bacteria living in the colon produce vitamins B and K.
  • anus - Faeces is expelled from the body through it. This process is controlled by two ring-like muscles, the anal sphincters. The internal anal sphincter composed of smooth muscle, while the external anal sphincter is composed of striated muscle and is under voluntary control.

Large intestine

  • ascending colon - No digestion takes place here. It is involved in the absorption of minerals and water. Certain bacteria living in the colon produce vitamins B and K.
  • cecum - It is the first section of the large intestine. No digestion takes place in it.
  • appendix - An extension of the caecum, it is a vestigial structure. It is a lymphoid organ. Its inflammation is called appendicitis, which is a life-threatening condition and requires surgery.
  • anus - Faeces is expelled from the body through it. This process is controlled by two ring-like muscles, the anal sphincters. The internal anal sphincter composed of smooth muscle, while the external anal sphincter is composed of striated muscle and is under voluntary control.
  • rectum - It is the final section of the large intestine and of the gastrointestinal tract. It absorbs water and plays an important role in forming the stool.
  • descending colon - No digestion takes place in the colon. It is involved in the absorption of minerals and water. Bacteria living in the colon produce vitamins B and K.
  • transverse colon - No digestion takes place in the colon. It is involved in the absorption of minerals and water. Bacteria living in the colon produce vitamins B and K.

Tissues of the colon

  • serous membrane - It is a membrane lining the external surface of the gastrointestinal tract. It consists of connective tissue and an epithelial layer.
  • longitudinal smooth muscle
  • circular smooth muscle - Together with the longitudinal smooth muscle layer, it is responsible for the peristalsis of the intestines. Peristalsis ensures that food is mixed and transported through the intestines.
  • intestinal mucosa - It consists of a thin smooth muscle layer, connective tissue and a layer of epithelial cells. Between the epithelial cells, there are goblet cells that secrete mucus.

Position of the large intestine

  • large intestine

Mucous membrane

  • intestinal epithelial cell - These cells are involved in the absorption of water, minerals and vitamins into the blood.
  • goblet cell - Unicellular glands that secrete mucins, the function of which is to lubricate and protect the mucous membrane.
  • blood vessel - The colon is where the absorption of water, minerals and vitamins into the blood takes place.
  • smooth muscle layer of the mucous membrane

Absorption

  • intestinal epithelial cell - These cells are involved in the absorption of water, minerals and vitamins into the blood.
  • goblet cell - Unicellular glands that secrete mucins, the function of which is to lubricate and protect the mucous membrane.
  • blood vessel - The absorption of water, minerals and vitamins into the blood takes place in the colon.

Animation

  • ascending colon - No digestion takes place here. It is involved in the absorption of minerals and water. Certain bacteria living in the colon produce vitamins B and K.
  • cecum - It is the first section of the large intestine. No digestion takes place in it.
  • appendix - An extension of the caecum, it is a vestigial structure. It is a lymphoid organ. Its inflammation is called appendicitis, which is a life-threatening condition and requires surgery.
  • anus - Faeces is expelled from the body through it. This process is controlled by two ring-like muscles, the anal sphincters. The internal anal sphincter composed of smooth muscle, while the external anal sphincter is composed of striated muscle and is under voluntary control.
  • rectum - It is the final section of the large intestine and of the gastrointestinal tract. It absorbs water and plays an important role in forming the stool.
  • descending colon - No digestion takes place in the colon. It is involved in the absorption of minerals and water. Bacteria living in the colon produce vitamins B and K.
  • transverse colon - No digestion takes place in the colon. It is involved in the absorption of minerals and water. Bacteria living in the colon produce vitamins B and K.
  • serous membrane - It is a membrane lining the external surface of the gastrointestinal tract. It consists of connective tissue and an epithelial layer.
  • longitudinal smooth muscle
  • circular smooth muscle - Together with the longitudinal smooth muscle layer, it is responsible for the peristalsis of the intestines. Peristalsis ensures that food is mixed and transported through the intestines.
  • intestinal mucosa - It consists of a thin smooth muscle layer, connective tissue and a layer of epithelial cells. Between the epithelial cells, there are goblet cells that secrete mucus.
  • intestinal epithelial cell - These cells are involved in the absorption of water, minerals and vitamins into the blood.
  • goblet cell - Unicellular glands that secrete mucins, the function of which is to lubricate and protect the mucous membrane.
  • blood vessel - The absorption of water, minerals and vitamins into the blood takes place in the colon.
  • intestinal epithelial cell - These cells are involved in the absorption of water, minerals and vitamins into the blood.
  • goblet cell - Unicellular glands that secrete mucins, the function of which is to lubricate and protect the mucous membrane.

Narration

The human digestive system can be divided into an upper and a lower tract.

The large intestine is part of the lower digestive tract. It contains the cecum, the colon, the rectum and the anus.

The appendix is an extension of the cecum. When it is inflamed it requires immediate surgical removal.
No digestion takes place in the colon; the absorption of water and minerals happens here. Certain bacteria living in the colon produce vitamins B and K.
Antibiotics can damage the gut flora, therefore it is recommended that we take probiotics during or after antibiotic treatments. The content of the intestine proceeds from the colon to the rectum. Water is absorbed in the rectum, which plays an important role in forming the stool.

The outer layer of the colon is the serous membrane. Under this layer, there are layers of longitudinal and circular smooth muscle. The synchronised motion of these two muscle layers ensures the peristaltic motion; it mixes and propels the content of intestines. The innermost layer of the colon is the intestinal mucosa. On the surface of the intestinal mucosa, goblet cells are embedded in intestinal epithelial cells.

Goblet cells are unicellular glands that secrete mucins, whose function is to lubricate and protect the mucous membrane. Water, minerals and vitamins are absorbed through the intestinal epithelial cells.

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