Figure 1 Stomach anatomy. The thickness of smooth muscle in the different regions of the stomach is shown by the darkened areas (■). LC, lesser curvature; GC, greater curvature.

to 1000 cm3 when full with food. The stomach can be divided anatomically into four regions (Figure 1). The esophageal squamous epithelium ends at the gastroesophageal opening where the columnar epithelium of the stomach begins; the first region of the stomach is the fundus, which lies above the opening of the esophagus. The next region is the body or corpus, which together with the fundus forms a food storage reservoir. This allows control of the rate of food delivery to the small intestine, so as to synchronize it with maximal digestion and absorption. The distal part of the stomach, the antrum has a thicker muscle layer and its major function is to generate vigorous mixing of food with the gastric secretions to produce a slurry known as chyme. The stomach ends in the pylorus, a muscular sphincter that controls release of chyme into the duodenum.

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