Duct (anatomy)

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Phone:617-632-7753


In anatomy and physiology, a duct is a circumscribed channel leading from an exocrine gland or organ.

Types of ducts

Examples include:

Duct From To Carries
Lactiferous duct mammary gland nipple milk
Cystic duct spleen common bile duct bile
Common hepatic duct liver common bile duct bile
Common bile duct common hepatic duct and cystic duct pancreatic duct bile
Pancreatic duct pancreas hepatopancreatic ampulla bile and pancreatic enzymes
Ejaculatory duct vas deferens urethra semen
Parotid duct parotid gland mouth saliva
Submaxillary duct submaxillary gland mouth saliva
Major sublingual duct sublingual gland mouth saliva
Bartholin's ducts Bartholin's glands Vulva Bartholin's fluid

Duct system

As ducts travel from the acinus which generates the fluid to the target, the ducts become larger and the epithelium becomes thicker. The parts of the system are classified as follows:

Type of duct Epithelium Surroundings
intralobular duct simple cuboidal parenchyma
interlobular duct simple columnar connective tissue
interlobar duct stratified columnar connective tissue

Some sources consider "lobar" ducts to be the same as "interlobar ducts", while others consider lobar ducts to be larger and more distal from the acinus. For sources that make the distinction, the interlobar ducts are more likely to classified with simple columnar epithelium (or pseudostratified epithelium), reserving the stratified columnar for the lobar ducts.

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