Pancreas

A long, thin organ in humans, the pancreas has both digestive and endocrine functions and for this reason contains two completely different types of cells. Measuring about 12- 15 cm (5-6 in) long, it is nested within the curve of the duodenum and hind the stomach, in front of the spine and aorta.

The digestive, or exocrine, cells of the pancreas consist of a number of organ, small lobules, or acinar cells, joined together into small ducts that, in turn, joint the two major ducts of Santorini and Wirsung, which empty through small muscular opening into the duodenum. The lobules contain numerous cells that secrete pancreatic secretion containing electrolytes and three important digestive enzymes, typsin, amylase, and lipase. The enzyme digest protein, spilt fat, break down highly polymerized nucleic acid, and break down polysaccharides such as starch, amylopectin, and glycogen. The protein splitting enzyme typsin becomes active only when the duodenal enzyme enterokinase is mixed with it, or in the present of diseases such as pancreatitis or cancer. In a similar manner the activity of the other enzymes is enhanced by the admixture of intestinal secretions and bile.

The endocrine function of the pancreas is to release hormone secreted by small groups of cells called the islets of Langerhans into the blood. The hormone pancreozymin and gastrin, as well as the vagus nerve, control the amount enzyme secreted. The islets of the Langerhands secrete two hormone that regulate carbohydrate metablolism. Insulin causes a decreases blood sugar. Other hormone control intestinal motilily or interact with the thyroid islet cells a person develops Diabetes Mellitus.

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