Chapter 16. The Pancreas

A. Introduction

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The pancreas is an elongated organ, located near or at the junction of the epigastric and umbilical regions of the peritoneal cavity, in the curvature of the duodenum, extending behind the stomach laterally, toward the spleen.

The pancreas is an endocrine and an exocrine gland. The exocrine portion of the pancreas is a compound tubuloalveolar serous gland. It contains serous acini which produce and secrete a serous enzyme mixture into a series of ducts which convey the secretion to the duodenum. The endocrine portion of the gland is composed of islands of endocrine tissue surrounded by the exocrine tissue. These islands of endocrine tissue are called Islets of Langerhans. The cells of the islets secrete a number of hormones into the interstitial connective tissue. The blood stream circulates the hormones.