Bile duct

Bile Duct: A tube that connects the liver and gallbladder to the small intestine. Its function is to allow bile to flow into the small intestine.


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Bile ducts are tubes that carry bile from the liver cells to the gallbladder for storage and to the small intestine for use in digestion. Bile is fluid made by the liver that carries toxins and waste products out of the body and helps the body digest fats and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Source: NIDDK (NIH)2

Introduction: Bile duct

The bile ducts carry a fluid called bile from the liver to the gallbladder, where it is stored. When food enters the stomach after a meal, the gallbladder contracts, and the bile ducts carry bile to the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine, for use in digestion. The liver makes bile, which is made up of bile acids, cholesterol, fats, and fluids. Bile helps the body absorb fats, cholesterol, and fat-soluble vitamins. Bile also carries cholesterol, toxins, and waste products to the intestines, where the body removes them. When chronic inflammation, or swelling, damages the bile ducts, bile and toxic wastes build up in the liver, damaging liver tissue.

Source: NIDDK (NIH)3

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Bile Ducts: The channels that collect and transport the bile secretion from the Bile Canaliculi, the smallest branch of the Biliary Tract in the Liver, through the bile ductules, the bile ducts out the liver, and to the Gallbladder for storage.4


Types may include:5

Types of Bile Duct:

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  1. Source: RDCRN (NCATS/NIH): cms/ cegir/ Learn-More/ Glossary
  2. Source: NIDDK (NIH): health-information/ liver-disease/ alagille-syndrome
  3. Source: NIDDK (NIH): health-information/ health-topics/ liver-disease/ primary-biliary-cirrhosis/ Pages/ facts.aspx
  4. Source: MeSH (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
  5. Source: NCI Thesaurus

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