Sphincter of Oddi

Other known aliaseshepatopancreatic sphincter, Glisson’s sphincter

Definitionmuscular ring surrounding the major duodenal papilla at the 2nd portion of the duodenum.

Clinical Significancethe sphincter of Oddi allows for drainage of the biliary and pancreatic systems and dysfunction (mainly spasming) can can cause pancreatitis.  It is in a constant state of contraction unless relaxed by cholesytokinin released by vasoactive intestinal peptide.  Opioids, specifically morphine, has been shown to increase the risk of sphincter of Oddi dysfunction.

HistoryNamed after Ruggero Ferdinando Antonio Guiseppe Vincenzo Oddi (1864-1913), who was an Italian physiologist and anatomist from Perugia.  He spent is formative years studying medicine at Perugia, Bologna, and Florence and was appointed head of the Physiology Institute at the University of Genoa in 1894.  In 1887, at only 23 years old, he described his eponymous structure in his paper “D’une disposition a sphincter speciale de l’ouverture du canal choledoque”.  His career, unfortunately, was derailed and cut short due to opioid addiction many believe was as a result of using morphine derivatives to study dysfunction of the sphincter.


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