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Asked by Fatma

What happens to the fatty acids and glycerol once absorbed into the epithelium?

These two products of fat digestion, once absorbed by the epithelial cells of the small intestine, are re-formed and into triglycerides whilst inside the epithelial cells. They are then repackaged with cholesterol and vitamins. As these fat-based molecules (called chylomicrons) are now too large to travel out of the cell through the membrane they are released by exocytosis. As well as being too large, they are also not water soluble and so cannot travel into the capillaries. For this reason they then enter the lacteal to enter the bloodstream at a larger junction. When at the appropriate site, the chylomicrons are broken down again by enzymes to release the fatty acids and glycerol for absorption by the necessary cells.

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