The Role of Bile

The second main source of secretion is bile. Bile is formed in the liver canaliculi and passes down the bile duct into the duodenum. The opening of the bile duct into the duodenum, the sphincter of Oddi, is controlled by cholecystokinin levels. When the sphincter of Oddi is closed, bile is diverted and stored in the gall bladder.

Bile is a solution of NaHCO3, similar to pancreatic juice, without enzymes and including a number of organic solutes, of which the bile salts are essential for the digestion of fat. Bile salts have a detergent action that emulsifies the large droplets of dietary fat into a water-soluble form, a micelle, rendering the fat molecules available for hydrolysis by pancreatic lipase.

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