Pancreas: Tissue Function

The pancreas is a J-shaped compound gland that is situated deep within the abdomen between the stomach and the spine. It is about six inches long, weighs about 80 grams and functions as both an endocrine and an exocrine gland. It can be divided into four regions: head, neck, body, and tail, with the head having the greatest mass. The pancreas is primarily composed of the following types of cells: (1) the acinar cells, which produce digestive enzymes and thus constitute the exocrine pancreas; (2) the ductal cells that channel the digestive enzymes to the intestines; and (3) the islets of Langerhans, which are cells that secrete hormones that help maintain glucose homeostasis and thus constitute the endocrine pancreas. It also contains embryonic mesenchyme-derived connective ...

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