Overview of the development of the gastrointestinal tract
- Ian Sanderson, MD
Ian Sanderson, MD
- Professor of Pediatric Gastroenterology
- Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry
- Section Editors
- Kathleen J Motil, MD, PhD
Kathleen J Motil, MD, PhD
- Section Editor — Pediatric Nutrition
- Professor of Pediatric Nutrition
- Baylor College of Medicine
- Melvin B Heyman, MD, MPH
Melvin B Heyman, MD, MPH
- Section Editor — Gastroenterology
- Professor of Pediatrics
- University of California, San Francisco
The anatomic formation of the esophagus, stomach, intestine, liver, and pancreas are achieved in the fourth fetal week through a series of evaginations, elongations, and dilatations. Anatomic development progresses through cell proliferation, growth, and morphogenesis.
Three distinct regions of the intestine give rise to specific portions of the gastrointestinal tract:
●The foregut is the precursor of the pharynx, esophagus, stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, and the cranial portion of the duodenum (figure 1).
●The midgut gives rise to the caudal portion of the duodenum, the jejunum, ileum, the ascending colon, and two-thirds of the transverse colon (figure 2).
●The hindgut is the precursor of the distal one-third of the transverse colon, the descending colon, the rectum, and the urogenital sinus (figure 3).
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