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Development of the Liver and the Gall Bladder – Liver, Gallbladder and Pancreas Development

by John McLachlan, PhD
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    00:00 In this image, we can see the liver as seen from the side, and it’s growing eventually, that’s down from the gut, but it also grows in part towards the head. So it’s growing towards the head end. And this process begins about the third week after fertilization.

    00:16 As it grows, it begins to fork into a left and right liver lobe. And these lobes grow forwards towards the head, and as they go, they gradually form cords. So I’m representing these cords with my fingers and they grow forward towards the head until they reach the margin of the pericardial cavity. There’s a band of tissue which separates the pericardial cavity from the liver, and this is known as transverse septum.

    00:44 Later in life, this will contribute to the diaphragm. So the liver is relatively large and well developed in the embryo. It is probably about twice the relative size in the embryo than it is in the adult, and this has to do with the function that the liver carries out in the embryo. As it grows forward, as we can see in this diagram, the liver is pressed against the diaphragm at the bare area. And on the other side of the bare area of the diaphragm will be the pericardial cavity. The liver is important because it’s a major site of blood cell development, early in development, and relatively, therefore, much more significant than it is in the baby. It will actually diminish significantly in size even during the course of development. Now, let’s look at the development of the gall bladder. This grows out as a bud, a diverticulum growing out from the original liver bud. We can see it here in association with the cords of the liver formed in the original endoderm of the liver as it grows forward.

    01:52 The gall bladder is a system which will transport and concentrate bile and prepare it for release into the duodenum subsequently. The bile cells tend to be green in colour.

    02:03 So it’s an important storage organ in the development of the intestinal system.

    02:11 Bile is actually produced in the liver from week 12, stored in the gall bladder that will make its way into the intestine from there. When the baby is born, the first stool that it passes, known as meconium, are often therefore glossy green in colour as a result of the bile salts and bile pigments present in the intestine having been produced from the liver and stored in the gall bladder.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Development of the Liver and the Gall Bladder – Liver, Gallbladder and Pancreas Development by John McLachlan, PhD is from the course System-Specific Embryology with John McLachlan.


    Author of lecture Development of the Liver and the Gall Bladder – Liver, Gallbladder and Pancreas Development

     John McLachlan, PhD

    John McLachlan, PhD


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