Invaginations in the mucosal
epithelium of the stomach, called gastric glands, produce digestive enzymes to
allow for some digestion of proteins and lipids (Silverthorn, 2016). Gastric
lipase, a digestive enzyme produced by the chief cells in the gastric glands of
the stomach, hydrolyzes two fatty acids from triglycerides, thereby forming two
free fatty acids and one monoglyceride molecule (Silverthorn, 2016) (Thompson et al., 2013). The hydrochloric acid in
gastric acid, which is produced by the parietal cells of the stomach, aids the
pepsinogen produced by chief cells in protein digestion (Silverthorn, 2016). The
acid creates a low pH environment in the stomach that denatures ingested
proteins (breaks hydrogen and disulfide bonds that form the tertiary structure),
thereby making the peptide bonds between the individual amino acids more
accessible for cleaving (Silverthorn, 2016) (Thompson et al., 2013). Furthermore, the hydrochloric acid activates
pepsinogen (zymogen form of pepsin) to become pepsin, a digestive enzyme that
hydrolyzes the peptide bonds between amino acids in the protein to cleave them into
smaller polypeptide chains (Silverthorn, 2016) (Thompson et al., 2013). The amount of gastric acid available to aid in
protein digestion in the stomach is regulated by histamine, gastrin, and
somatostatin, secreted from the Enterochromaffin-like cells, G cells, and D cells
of the stomach, respectively (Silverthorn, 2016).

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