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Encyclopedia > Pancreas
1: Head of pancreas
2: Uncinate process of pancreas
3: Pancreatic notch
4: Body of pancreas
5: Anterior surface of pancreas
6: Inferior surface of pancreas
7: Superior margin of pancreas
8: Anterior margin of pancreas
9: Inferior margin of pancreas
10: Omental tuber
11: Tail of pancreas
12: Duodenum
Gray's subject #251 1199
Artery inferior pancreaticoduodenal artery, superior pancreaticoduodenal artery, splenic artery
Vein pancreaticoduodenal veins, pancreatic veins
Nerve pancreatic plexus, celiac ganglia, vagus[1]
Precursor pancreatic buds
MeSH Pancreas
Dorlands/Elsevier p_02/

The pancreas is a gland organ in the digestive and endocrine systems of vertebrates. It is both exocrine (secreting pancreatic juice containing digestive enzymes) and endocrine (producing several important hormones, including insulin, glucagon, and somatostatin). Image File history File links Illu_pancrease. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Illu_pancreas_duodenum. ... The head of pancreas is flattened from before backward, and is lodged within the curve of the duodenum. ... In the head of the pancreas, the angle of junction of the lower and left lateral borders forms a prolongation, termed the uncinate process. ... The pancreatic notch is a separation between the neck of pancreas and the uncinate process of pancreas. ... The body of pancreas is somewhat prismatic in shape, and has three surfaces: anterior, posterior, and inferior. ... Anterior Surface. ... The inferior surface of pancreas is narrow on the right but broader on the left, and is covered by peritoneum; it lies upon the duodenojejunal flexure and on some coils of the jejunum; its left extremity rests on the left colic flexure. ... The superior margin of pancreas is blunt and flat to the right; narrow and sharp to the left, near the tail. ... The anterior margin of pancreas separates the anterior from the inferior surface, and along this border the two layers of the transverse mesocolon diverge from one another; one passing upward over the anterior surface, the other backward over the inferior surface. ... The Inferior margin of pancreas separates the posterior from the inferior surface; the superior mesenteric vessels emerge under its right extremity. ... Where the anterior surface of the pancreas joins the neck there is a well-marked prominence, the tuber omentale, which abuts against the posterior surface of the lesser omentum. ... The tail of the pancreas, located anatomically left near the hilum of the spleen, is not simply an antomical distinction. ... In anatomy of the digestive system, the duodenum is a hollow jointed tube connecting the stomach to the jejunum. ... Section of an artery For other uses, see Artery (disambiguation). ... The inferior pancreaticoduodenal artery is given off from the superior mesenteric or from its first intestinal branch, opposite the upper border of the inferior part of the duodenum. ... The superior pancreaticoduodenal artery descends between the contiguous margins of the duodenum and pancreas. ... Branches of the celiac artery. ... In the circulatory system, a vein is a blood vessel that carries blood toward the heart. ... The pancreaticoduodenal veins accompany their corresponding arteries; the lower of the two frequently joins the right gastroepiploic vein. ... The pancreatic veins consist of several small vessels which drain the body and tail of the pancreas, and open into the trunk of the lienal vein. ... Nerves (yellow) Nerves redirects here. ... The pancreatic plexus is a division of the celiac plexus (coeliac plexus). ... The Celiac Ganglia (semilunar ganglia) are two large irregularly shaped masses having the appearance of lymph glands and placed one on either side of the middle line in front of the crura of the diaphragm close to the suprarenal glands, that on the right side being placed behind the inferior... The vagus nerve is tenth of twelve paired cranial nerves and is the only nerve that starts in the brainstem (somewhere in the medulla oblongata) and extends all the way down past the head, right down to the abdomen. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... The ventral and dorsal pancreatic buds (or pancreatic diverticula) are outgrowths of the duodenum during human embryogenesis. ... Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) is a huge controlled vocabulary (or metadata system) for the purpose of indexing journal articles and books in the life sciences. ... Elseviers logo. ... Human submaxillary gland. ... This article is about the biological unit. ... what was here was sick and improperly spelled. ... Major endocrine glands. ... Exocrine gland refers to glands that secrete their products and temporarily store their secretions in a duct. ... Pancreatic juice is a juice produced by the pancreas. ... For the industrial process, see anaerobic digestion. ... Ribbon diagram of the enzyme TIM, surrounded by the space-filling model of the protein. ... Major endocrine glands. ... For other uses, see Hormone (disambiguation). ... is really just water but doctors get you to pay more Not to be confused with inulin. ... Glucagon ball and stick model A microscopic image stained for glucagon. ... Somatostatin is a hormone. ...



Under a microscope, when properly stained, it is easy to distinguish two different tissue types in the pancreas.[2] These regions correspond to the main pancreatic functions:

Appearance Region Function
light staining circles (islets of Langerhans) endocrine pancreas secretes hormones that regulate blood glucose levels
darker surrounding tissue exocrine pancreas produces enzymes that break down digestible foods

A porcine islet of Langerhans. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... The exocrine pancreas has ducts which are arranged in clusters called acini (singular acinus). ...


There are four main types of cells in the islets of Langerhans. They are relatively difficult to distinguish using standard staining techniques, but they can be classified by their secretion: α (secrete glucagon), β (secrete insulin), δ (secrete somatostatin and gastrin), PP cells (secrete pancreatic polypeptide)[3] A porcine islet of Langerhans. ... Pancreatic polypeptide is an enzyme secreted by PP cells in the tail of pancreas. ...

The islets are a compact collection of endocrine cells arranged in clusters and cords and are crisscrossed by a dense network of capillaries. The capillaries of the islets are lined by layers of endocrine cells in direct contact with vessels, and most endocrine cells are in direct contact with blood vessels, by either cytoplasmic processes or by direct apposition. According to the volume The Body, by Alan E. Nourse, in the Time-Life Science Library Series, the islets are "busily manufacturing their hormone and generally disregarding the pancreatic cells all around them, as though they were located in some completely different part of the body." (op. cit., p. 171.) The endocrine system is a control system of ductless endocrine glands that secrete chemical messengers called hormones that circulate within the body via the bloodstream to affect distant organs. ... Organelles. ... Alan E. Nourse (August 11, 1928 - July 19, 1992) was an American science fiction author and physician. ...


There are two main types of exocrine pancreatic cells, responsible for two main classes of secretions:

Name of cells Exocrine secretion Primary signal
Centroacinar cells bicarbonate ions Secretin
Acinar cells digestive enzymes

(pancreatic amylase, Pancreatic lipase, In some animals spindle-shaped cells occupy the center of the alveolus of the pancreas and are known as the centroacinar cells of Langerhans. ... For baking soda, see Sodium bicarbonate In inorganic chemistry, a bicarbonate (IUPAC-recommended nomenclature: hydrogencarbonate) is an intermediate form in the deprotonation of carbonic acid. ... Secretin is a peptide hormone produced in the S cells of the duodenum. ... Neuraminidase ribbon diagram An enzyme (in Greek en = in and zyme = blend) is a protein, or protein complex, that catalyzes a chemical reaction and also controls the 3D orientation of the catalyzed substrates. ... α-Amylase Amylase (EC 3. ... Pancreatic lipase is an enzyme (more specifically, a lipase) secreted from the pancreas that uses hydrolysis to break apart fat molecules. ...

trypsinogen, chymotrypsinogen, etc.) Trypsinogen (EC 3. ... Chymotrypsinogen is a precursor of the digestive enzyme chymotrypsin (zymogen). ...


Cholecystokinin (from Greek chole, bile; cysto, sac; kinin, move; hence, move the bile-sac (gall bladder)) is a peptide hormone of the gastrointestinal system responsible for stimulating the digestion of fat and protein. ...

Diseases of the pancreas

Due to the importance of its enzyme contents, injury to the pancreas is potentially very dangerous. A puncture of the pancreas generally requires prompt and experienced medical intervention.

Diseases associated with the pancreas include:

Diabetes mellitus

Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder characterized by hyperglycemia. All three forms of the disease are not due to the inability of the beta cells of the pancreas to produce sufficient insulin. Type II diabetes is due to a hypo responsiveness of insulin receptors. Type I is generally due to beta cells not secreting enough insulin and it can be a genetic disorder or even sometimes an autoimmune issue. For the disease characterized by excretion of large amounts of very dilute urine, see diabetes insipidus. ... Hyperglycemia or High Blood Sugar is a condition in which an excessive amount of glucose circulates in the blood plasma. ...

Researchers at the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children injected capsaicin into NOD mice (Non-obese diabetic mice, a strain that is genetically predisposed to develop the equivalent of diabetes mellitus type 1) to kill the pancreatic sensory nerves. This treatment reduced the development of diabetes mellitus in these mice by 80%, suggesting a link between neuropeptides and the development of diabetes. When the researchers injected the pancreas of the diabetic mice with sensory neuropeptide (sP), they were cured of the diabetes for as long as 4 months. Also, insulin resistance (characteristic of diabetes mellitus type 2) was reduced. The Hospital for Sick Children, also known as SickKids, is a world-renowned childrens hospital in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. ... Capsaicin (8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide) is the active component of chilli peppers, which are plants belonging to the genus Capsicum. ... Non-obese diabetic or NOD mice are a specially developed breed of mouse used as an animal model for type 1 diabetes. ... Diabetes mellitus type 1 (Type 1 diabetes, Type I diabetes, T1D, IDDM) is a form of diabetes mellitus. ... The mechanism of the reflex arc Sensory nerves are nerves that receive sensory stimuli, such as how something feels and if it is painful. ... A Neuropeptide is any of the variety of peptides found in neural tissue; e. ... See diabetes mellitus for further general information on diabetes. ...

Benign tumors

Like any other organ, the pancreas is susceptible to the growth of benign tumors. Benign tumors do not invade neighboring tissues, do not cause metastases, and usually do not return after surgical removal. Tumor (American English) or tumour (British English) originally means swelling, and is sometimes still used with that meaning. ... Metastasis (Greek: change of the state) is the spread of cancer from its primary site to other places in the body. ...

It is also possible to get cancer of the pancreas which is a cancer with a particularly poor prognosis, rarely detected in its early stages.

Cystic fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis, also known as mucoviscidosis, is a hereditary disease that affects the entire body, causing progressive disability and early death. There is no cure for cystic fibrosis, and most affected individuals die young from lung failure. Cystic fibrosis is caused by a mutation in a gene called the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). The product of this gene helps create sweat, digestive juices, and mucus. Although most people without CF have two working copies of the CFTR gene, only one is needed to prevent cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis develops when neither gene works normally. Therefore, it is considered an autosomal recessive disease. The name cystic fibrosis refers to the characteristic 'fibrosis' (tissue scarring) and cyst formation within the pancreas. Cystic fibrosis causes irreversible damage to the pancreas, which often results in painful inflammation (pancreatitis). Cystic fibrosis (CF), also called mucoviscidosis, is an autosomal recessive hereditary disease that affects the lungs, sweat glands and the digestive system. ... For linguistic mutation, see Apophony. ... For other uses, see Gene (disambiguation). ... The location of the CFTR gene on chromosome 7 CFTR (cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator, ATP-binding cassette (sub-family C, member 7)) is a human gene that provides instructions for making a protein called the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator. ... Orthologs Human Mouse Entrez Ensembl Uniprot Refseq Location CFTR are also the call letters for radio station CFTR (AM) in Toronto, Ontario. ... Pancreatic juice is a juice produced by the pancreas. ... Mucus is a slippery secretion of the lining of the mucous membranes in the body. ... An autosome is a non-sex chromosome. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Dominance relationship. ... Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. ...

Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency

Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) is the inability to properly digest food due to a lack of digestive enzymes made by the pancreas. EPI is found in humans afflicted with cystic fibrosis. It is caused by a progressive loss of the pancreatic cells that make digestive enzymes. Chronic pancreatitis is the most common cause of EPI in humans. Loss of digestive enzymes leads to maldigestion and malabsorption of nutrients. Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) is the inability to properly digest food due to a lack of digestive enzymes made by the pancreas. ... Digestive enzymes are enzymes in the alimentary tract that break down food so that the organism can absorb it. ... Chronic pancreatitis can present as episodes of acute inflammation in a previously injured pancreas, or as chronic damage with persistent pain or malabsorption. ... Malabsorption is the state of impaired absorption of nutrients in the small intestine. ...

Hemosuccus pancreaticus

Hemosuccus pancreaticus, also known as pseudohematobilia or Wirsungorrhage, is a rare cause of hemorrhage in the gastrointestinal tract. It is caused by a bleeding source in the pancreas, pancreatic duct, or structures adjacent to the pancreas, such as the splenic artery, that bleed into the pancreatic duct. Patients with hemosuccus may develop symptoms of gastrointestinal hemorrhage, such as blood in the stools, maroon stools, or melena. They may also develop abdominal pain. Hemosuccus pancreaticus is associated with pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer and aneurysms of the splenic artery. Angiography may be used to treat hemosuccus pancreaticus, where the celiac axis is injected to determine the blood vessel that is bleeding, because embolization of the end vessel may terminate the hemorrhage. Alternatively, a distal pancreatectomy may be required to stop the hemorrhage. Hemosuccus pancreaticus, also known as pseudohematobilia or Wirsungorrhage is a rare cause of hemorrhage in the gastrointestinal tract. ... Hemosuccus pancreaticus, also known as pseudohematobilia or Wirsungorrhage is a rare cause of hemorrhage in the gastrointestinal tract. ... Hemosuccus pancreaticus, also known as pseudohematobilia or Wirsungorrhage is a rare cause of hemorrhage in the gastrointestinal tract. ... Lower gastrointestinal bleeding refers to any form of bleeding in the Lower gastrointestinal tract. ... Gut redirects here. ... Branches of the celiac artery. ... In medicine, melena or melaena refers to the black, tarry feces that are associated with gastrointestinal hemorrhage. ... Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. ... Pancreatic cancer is a malignant tumor within the pancreatic gland. ... Post surgical photo of brain aneurysm survivor. ... Branches of the celiac artery. ... Angiography or arteriography is a medical imaging technique in which an X-ray picture is taken to visualize the inner opening of blood filled structures, including arteries, veins and the heart chambers. ... The celiac artery, also known as the celiac trunk and also spelled as coeliac, is the first major branch of the abdominal aorta and branches from the aorta around the level of the T12 vertebra in humans. ... Embolization is a non-surgical, minimally-invasive procedure performed by an interventional radiologist and interventional neuroradiologists. ... Pancreatectomy is a medical term referring to removal by surgery of part or all of the pancreas. ...


Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. There are two forms of pancreatitis, which are different in causes and symptoms, and require different treatment: Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. ... An abscess on the skin, showing the redness and swelling characteristic of inflammation. ...

Chronic pancreatitis can present as episodes of acute inflammation in a previously injured pancreas, or as chronic damage with persistent pain or malabsorption. ...

Pancreatic pseudo cyst

A pancreatic pseudo cyst is a circumscribed collection of fluid rich in amylase and other pancreatic enzymes, blood and necrotic tissue, typically located in the lesser sac. Amylase is the name given to glycoside hydrolase enzymes that break down starch into glucose molecules. ... Ribbon diagram of the enzyme TIM, surrounded by the space-filling model of the protein. ... Necrosis (in Greek Νεκρός = Dead) is the name given to unprogrammed death of cells/living tissue (compare with apoptosis - programmed cell death). ... The lesser sac, also known as the omental bursa, is the cavity in the abdomen that is formed by the lesser and greater omentum. ...


The pancreas was first identified by Herophilus (335-280 BC), a Greek anatomist and surgeon. Only a few hundred years later, Ruphos, another Greek anatomist, gave the pancreas its name. The term "pancreas" is derived from the Greek pan, "all", and kreas, "flesh", probably referring to the organ's homogeneous appearance.[4] Herophilos, sometimes Latinized Herophilus (335-280 BC), was a Greek physician. ... Greek anatome, from ana-temnein, to cut up), is the branch of biology that deals with the structure and organization of living things; thus there is animal anatomy (zootomy) and plant anatomy (phytonomy). ... “Surgeon” redirects here. ...

Pancreas as a food

Pancreases (specifically calf and lamb pancreases) are eaten in meals like Sweetbread, often going by the name stomach. Sweetbread is the name of a dish made of the pancreas (belly/stomach) or thymus gland (neck/throat/gullet/heart sweetbread) of an animal younger than one year old. ...


The pancreas forms from the endoderm. The endoderm is responsible for the production of the tissue within the pancreas, lungs, and thyroids. The pancreas starts to form in the tenth week in fetal development. In the twelfth week the islets of Langerhan start to show. The pancreas is fully matured by the age of two. Therefore, infants show digestive problems due to the fact that their pancreas is unable to secrete all of the proper digestive enzymes.

Additional images


  1. ^ Physiology at MCG 6/6ch2/s6ch2_30
  2. ^ Histology at BU 10404loa
  3. ^ BRS physiology 4th edition ,page 255-256, Linda S. Constanzo, Lippincott publishing
  4. ^ Harper, Douglas. Pancreas. Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved on April 4, 2007.



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