00:00 / 00:00
0 / 17 complete
0 / 1 complete
The pancreas is a long, skinny gland the length of a dollar bill and is located in the upper abdomen, or the epigastric region, behind the stomach. It has endocrine functions meaning it secretes hormones into the blood that eventually act upon other target tissues.
However, approximately 90% of the pancreas is dedicated to its exocrine functions.
The exocrine pancreas secretes enzymes and fluids that help neutralize and digest food within the intestines.
The exocrine pancreas can be divided into lobules, each of which contain lots of functional units called an acinus.
An acinus is a cluster of acinar cells that all work together to make digestive enzymes.
In fact, the word “acinus” means “berry” which describes the berry-like appearance of these cell clusters.
Each acinus secretes digestive enzymes which flow into small intercalated ducts that are lined by ductal cells.
These ductal cells secrete bicarbonate and fluids that make up the liquid portion of pancreatic fluid, and ultimately help to neutralize the acidic stomach contents as they enter the intestines.
The intercalated ducts merge together forming an intralobular duct which join with other interlobular duct, and finally drain into the main pancreatic duct.
Now let’s look at the enzymes made by the acinar cells. The main enzymes include pancreatic amylase which breaks down carbohydrates; trypsin and chymotrypsin, which break down proteins; and lipase which break down lipids.
Thus, in order protect the pancreas from destroying itself, the acinar cells manufacture inactive forms of the enzymes called proenzymes, or zymogens.
Pancreatic secretion refers to the production and release of enzymes and hormones by the pancreas, a gland located behind the stomach. These enzymes and hormones aid in the digestion of food and the regulation of blood sugar levels. The pancreas produces both exocrine and endocrine secretions. Exocrine secretions include enzymes such as amylase, lipase, and trypsin, which are released into the small intestine to aid in the digestion of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Endocrine secretions include insulin and glucagon, which regulate blood sugar levels.
Copyright © 2023 Elsevier, its licensors, and contributors. All rights are reserved, including those for text and data mining, AI training, and similar technologies.
Cookies are used by this site.
USMLE® is a joint program of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). COMLEX-USA® is a registered trademark of The National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners, Inc. NCLEX-RN® is a registered trademark of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. Test names and other trademarks are the property of the respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are endorsed by nor affiliated with Osmosis or this website.