My watch list  


Horizontal disposition of the peritoneum in the lower part of the abdomen. The mesentery is marked with red.
Vertical disposition of the peritoneum. Main cavity, red; omental bursa, blue.
Gray's subject #246 1157
MeSH Mesentery

Mesentery is, in anatomy, the double layer of peritoneum that connects a part of the small intestine to the posterior wall of the abdomen. Its meaning, however, is frequently extended to include double layers of peritoneum connecting various components of the abdominal cavity.


Mesentery (proper)

The mesentery proper (i.e. the original definition) refers to the peritoneum responsible for connecting the jejunum and ileum, parts of the small intestine, to the back wall of the abdomen. Between the two sheets of peritoneum are blood vessels, lymph vessels, and nerves. This allows these parts of the small intestine to move relatively freely within the abdominal cavity. The brain, however, cannot map sensation accurately, so sensation is usually referred to the midline, an example of referred pain.


The mesentery is derived from what is known in the embryo as the dorsal mesentery. The dorsal mesentery is larger than the ventral mesentery, which gradually becomes other parts of the peritoneum. Most parts of the ventral mesentery are associated with the liver.

Mesentery (general)

Mesenteries are composed of two layers of peritoneum. The peritoneum that lies on the walls of the abdominopelvic cavity (parietal peritoneum) invaginates at certain parts, with an organ inside this invagination. This invaginated peritoneum (visceral peritoneum) will often surround all but a part of the organ ("bare area"), through which the organ transmits blood vessels and nerves. If this organ is invaginated far enough into the peritoneum, the visceral peritoneum will come in contact with itself, forming the organ's mesentery.

Mesenteries in the body:

  • Mesentery (proper) - surrounds parts of the small intestine (the jejunum and the ileum)
  • Mesocolon - surrounds parts of the colon
    • Meso-appendix - peritoneum of the vermiform appendix
    • Transverse mesocolon - peritoneum of the transverse colon
    • Sigmoid mesocolon - peritoneum of the sigmoid colon
  • Broad ligament of the uterus - peritoneum of the uterus, uterine tubes, and ovaries

The fetal pig is considered a good reference for this subject.


A lack of blood-supply to the mesentery causes mesenteric ischemia.

Invertebrate anatomy

In invertebrate animals, the term mesentery is used for any tissue that divides the body cavity (coelom) into partitions.

Additional images

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mesentery". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE