The Digestive System
You are responsible for knowing the anatomy and histology of the system (covered in lab)
and for applying the mechanical and chemical digestive processes to each of these structures at
the cellular to gross anatomical levels. In other words, you must mentally be able to put any
food product in your mouth and digest it from start to finish. This includes enzymatic digestion,
absorption of the digested food products and metabolism of these molecules as well as
elimination of non-digested waste products. Knowing this from the microscopic to the
macroscopic level is essential.
You have had a good introduction to the digestive system in lab through your study of
histology and also through your study of the gross anatomy of models and your cat dissections.
This involves a large amount of memorization—learning structures (microscopic and gross
anatomy) and their functions.
You will be studying some chemical aspects of digestion in lab as well. Learning the
chemical aspects of digestion will largely depend on your own independent study, your time
commitment, and your dedication to learning this material. This is an opportunity to do very
well, so please take advantage of this opportunity and study, study, study.
• Anatomy and histology of the digestive system. Use your lab handouts for this and
• Work your way through the digestive system and outline what happens in each area—
relate gross anatomy and microscopic anatomy/histology with each aspect of mechanical
and chemical digestion
• Ingest any food product (carbohydrate, lipid, protein—know what food is in which
category) and trace its digestion through the GI tract (this includes accessory
structures/organs), absorption, and metabolism
• Trace the metabolic pathways for each digested end product—for what function do you
use your carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins (i.e.: cellular respiration, energy, making new
proteins, making lipid products, storing fat, energy reserves, etc.?
and metabolism and there are those G-words again )
• Describe metabolic activities associated with the absorptive and fasting states (Review
from first semester, and also fight or flight vs. rest repose).
• Describe any associated hormones related to this digestive/metabolism picture
Digestive System and specific related parts Endocrine chapter)
• you’ll get a condensed version
The Digestive System
• Read, study and use your text book.
• Answer the study questions that follow on this handout and on others.
• Visit the websites suggested on my webpage.
• Study, study, study (and you will do well!)
Introduction to the Digestive System
Use these questions just to get you warmed up with the digestive system. Much more was given
in lab and you are responsible for that material in lecture as well as in lab. You’ll need more
space than this to answer these questions. This is just an overview.
1. What are the organs of the upper GI tract?
2. What are the organs of the lower GI tract?
3. What are the accessory structures/organs and how do they differ from the GI tract?
4. List and describe the 6 basic functions of the digestive system as given in text.
5. Compare/contrast mechanical and chemical digestion.
6. List and describe the basic 4 layers of the GI tract (see lab notes). Keep these in mind as
you work your way more specifically through the alimentary canal. Look for ways each
area is similar, each area is different, and how each structure is related to its function.
7. What is and where is the peritoneum?
8. What is the peritoneal cavity? Remember ascites (cardiovascular system?)
9. What is meant by retroperitoneal?
10. Describe peritonitis.
11. List and describe disorders associated with the digestive system.