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Accessory digestive gland
Abdominal organs. (#4 is liver, #5 is gallbladder, and #7 is pancreas.)
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Gray's subject #
MeSH [1]

An accessory digestive gland is a gland of the digestive system that is not a part of the digestive tract.

An example of an accessory digestive gland is the exocrine pancreas.[1]

A closely related term is "accessory digestive organ". This can include structures that play a direct role in digestion, but are not glands, such as teeth.[2]

Accessory organs to the alimentary canal include the salivary glands, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas.

  • The Salivary glands (parotid, submandibular, and sublingual) secrete saliva, which contains enzymes that initiate breakdown of carbohydrates.
  • The liver secretes bile into the small intestine via the bile duct employing the gallbladder as a reservoir. The bile produced emulsifies fat. Apart from storing and concentrating bile and introducing it into the small intestine, the gallbladder has no other specific function.
  • The pancreas secretes an isosmotic fluid containing bicarbonate ions, which helps buffer the acid concentrationchyme, and several enzymes, including trypsin, chymotrypsin, lipase, and pancreatic amylase, as well as nucleolytic enzymes (deoxyribonuclease and ribonuclease), into the small intestine. Both of these secretory organs aid in digestion.


  1. Ahrens, Thomas; Prentice, Donna (1998). Critical care certification: preparation, review & practice exams, 265, Norwalk, CT: Appleton & Lange.
  2. Dorlands Medical Dictionary:accessory digestive organs.

External linksEdit

Template:Accessory digestive glands

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