Duodenum

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du·o·de·num / ˌd(y)oōəˈdēnəm; d(y)oōˈädn-əm/ • n. (pl. -nums or -na / -nə/ ) Anat. the first part of the small intestine immediately beyond the stomach, leading to the jejunum. DERIVATIVES: du·o·de·nal / -ˈdēnl; -ˈädnəl/ adj.

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duodenum The first and shortest segment of the small intestine. For up to 3 or 4 hours after a meal it receives spurts of partly digested food (chyme) from the stomach. Juices pour into it at this appropriate time from the pancreas and from the gall bladder, both close by, stimulated to do so by hormones secreted from the duodenum itself in response to the chyme's arrival. Because the juices are alkaline, stomach acid is normally neutralized here, but excessive acidity has been linked to the duodenum's propensity to develop ulcers.

Stuart Judge


See alimentary system.
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duodenum The first section of the small intestine of vertebrates. It is the site where food from the stomach is subjected to the action of bile (from the bile duct) and pancreatic enzymes (from the pancreatic duct) as well as the enzymes secreted by digestive glands in the duodenum itself (see succus entericus), which are required in the breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. By neutralizing the acidic secretions of the stomach, the duodenum provides an alkaline environment necessary for the action of the intestinal enzymes.

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duodenum First section of the small intestine, shaped like a horseshoe. The pyloric sphincter, a circular muscle, separates it from the stomach. Alkaline bile and pancreatic juices are released into the duodenum to aid the digestion of food.

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duodenum First part of the small intestine, between the stomach and the jejunum; the major site of digestion. Pancreatic juice and bile are secreted into the duodenum. So called because it is about twelve fingerbreadths in length. See also gastro‐intestinal tract.

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duodenum (dew-ŏ-deen-ŭm) n. the first of the three parts of the small intestine. It extends from the pylorus of the stomach to the jejunum. The duodenum receives bile from the gall bladder and pancreatic juice from the pancreas.
duodenal adj.

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duodenum In vertebrates, the section of the alimentary canal that lies immediately behind the stomach, forming the start of the intestine.

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duodenum XIV. — medL. (short for intestinum duodenum digitorum ‘of twelve digits’; so named from its length), f. duodēnī, distributive of duodecim twelve (see prec.).