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Three centuries since the discovery of Vater’s Papilla
  1. Tilman Pickartz1,
  2. Quang Trung Tran1,2,
  3. Markus M. Lerch1
  1. 1 Department of Medicine A, University Medicine Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany
  2. 2 Department of Internal Medicine, University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Hue University, Hue City, Vietnam
  1. Correspondence to Markus M. Lerch, Department of Medicine A, University Medicine Greifswald, Greifswald 17489, Germany; lerch{at}

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In 1720 Abraham Vater (1684–1751) published the first description of the Papilla at the junction of the common bile duct and the pancreatic duct that today bares his name.1 It would remain his most clinically relevant discovery, particularly since the introduction of endoscopic papillotomy in the 1970s2 and the recognition of endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography (ERCP)-induced pancreatitis as a significant disease risk.3 The anatomy of the papilla is not uniform among mammals. The rabbit has completely separate junctions of both ducts with the intestine4 and the mouse carries no smooth muscle sphincter.5 Closest to the human anatomy is probably the American Opossum,6 which has therefore been used experimentally to study the mechanisms involved in gallstone-induced pancreatitis.7 The papilla of Vater has remained the subject of many investigations in humans,8 because its impairment affects diseases of …

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  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it published Online First. The second affiliation has been corrected.

  • Contributors all authors have contributed to the writing and editing of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting or dissemination plans of this research.

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  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.