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September 13, 1930


JAMA. 1930;95(11):800-801. doi:10.1001/jama.1930.02720110036014

Whereas most of the products of digestion in the alimentary tract are absorbed into the capillaries leading to the portal system so that they pass directly to the body's largest biochemical laboratory, the liver, fats experience a different fate. They are absorbed from the intestine by the lacteals and are thus conveyed through the thoracic duct to veins at the base of the neck, whence they proceed through the heart and pulmonary circulation before they reach the liver and other organs. The difference between the two routes means, as Leathes and Raper1 point out, that fat absorbed by the blood will go through the liver before it reaches other tissues, and that which goes by the thoracic duct will be distributed equally to all parts. The readiness with which the liver in certain circumstances takes up fat may, they add, make the lacteal route advantageous when fat is to