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Gross anatomy of the pancreas

The location of the pancreas in the body

The pancreas is an organ, more specifically a gland, that is part of both the endocrine and digestive systems.[1]:618-620, 882-883 The majority of it is dedicated to its role in the digestive tract, for which it produces pancreatic juice that is secreted into the small intestine via the pancreatic duct which is produced in the acinar cells of the pancreas,[1]:882-883 the remainder (the islet cells) is dedicated to the production of certain hormones, including: glucagon, insulin and somatostatin.[1]:868[2]


Detailed anatomy of the pancreas

Detailed anatomy of the pancreas


Pancreatic juice is mostly composed of water along with bicarbonate ions (which is also found in baking soda) and digestive enzymes which catalyse the breakdown of fats (which in turn enables the absorption of said fats), cholesterol, proteins (to their base amino acids) and nucleic acids (which make up DNA).[1] Every day the pancreas of an adult human produces some 1200-1500 mL of pancreatic juice.[1] The bicarbonate ions are alkaline and it neutralizes the acidic contents of the stomach as they enter the small intestine (as otherwise they would burn through the small intestine).[1]

Reference listEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Marieb, EN; Hoehn, K (2013). Human Anatomy & Physiology (9th ed. ed.). Boston, USA: Pearson. ISBN 978-0-321-74326-8. 
  2. Funk, JL (April 2012). "Chapter 24. Endocrine Functions of the Pancreas & Regulation of Carbohydrate Metabolism". Ganong's Review of Medical Physiology 24th edition. AccessMedicine (New York, USA: McGraw-Hill). ISBN 978-0071780032. Retrieved 28 September 2014. 

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