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Pancreas

THE PANCREAS IS a small organ in the abdomen that produces and secretes substances to aid digestion, as well as hormones that regulate the balance of blood sugar (glucose) levels. Recently, scientists have begun to characterize the stem cell population in the pancreas, but little is yet understood. A common disease associated with the pancreas is diabetes mellitus type I (DMI), an autoimmune disorder where a person's immune system attacks and destroys his or her own pancreatic islet cells, which produce and secrete insulin.

Pancreatic secretions are categorized as exocrine and endocrine. Exocrine secretions are released into ducts that connect to other organs, while endocrine secretions are hormonal and enter the bloodstream directly. The pancreas secretes the enzymes trypsin and chymotrypsin via ducts into the small ...

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