Pancreas is a gland which is a part of the digestive and endocrine system. This gland is in the shape of a fish and is yellowish in color. It is located in the upper abdomen and is attached to the duodenum, which is the foremost fragment of the small intestine.
Pancreas is the gland of the endocrine system since it produces the hormones insulin, Somatostatin and glucagon straight in the blood. On the other side, as an exocrine gland it produces juices that contain digestive enzymes, which assist in breaking down of carbohydrates, proteins and fats in the digested food.
Functions of pancreas
Endocrine part of the pancreas is made of myriad of cell clusters well known under the name the Islets of Langerhans. Four types of cells comprise these islets and they are: alpha cells, beta cells, delta cells and PP cells. Alpha cells manufacture the hormone glucagon, while beta cells manufacture the hormone insulin. The delta cells have the role to manufacture the hormone Somatostatin, whereas the pancreatitis polypeptide is produced by the PP cells. The endocrine glands are formed in cords and clusters and are interwoven by a network of capillaries. Thus the hormones for the endocrine part of the pancreas reach the bloodstream.
On the other side, exocrine part of the pancreas has the role to produce pancreatic juices or alkaline fluid and digestive enzymes, which are passed to the small intestine via exocrine ducts. The acinar cells, which are in the exocrine part of the pancreas, generate four types of digestive enzymes. The centroacinar cells are the cells that line the pancreatic ducts. These cells have the role to produce a solution high in salt and bicarbonate, which is passed to the small intestine.
It is essential to maintain the pancreas healthy since it has important roles in the human body. However, it can be affected by certain factors when the pancreatic problems occur. Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas, which can be easily cured by avoiding the consummation of alcohol, which is the prime cause for the occurrence of pancreatitis. On the other side, diabetes may also occur due to the pancreas problems. Diabetes is the condition marked by the high levels of glucose in the body. The insulin is the hormone that controls the level of glucose in the blood and when it is not produced in the normal amounts by the pancreas, it can lead to the occurrence of this health problem.