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The pancreas is a long narrow gland which is part of both the digestive system and the endocrine system This small organ is approximately six inches long and one inch thick It is located in the upper abdomen and is attached to the duodenum which is the upper part of the small intestine It extends upward behind the stomach to the spleen The pancreas is made up of two different types of tissue the islets of Langerhans and acinar cells The pancreas has five sections the wider end is called the head the middle section is the body and the narrow end is the tail The uncinate bends backwards and beneath the body of the pancreas The thin neck connects the head and the body Pathology2jhuedupancreas Pg2 The pancreas acts as both an exocrine and endocrine gland As an exocrine gland it discharges digestive enzymes As an endocrine gland it secretes the hormones insulin and glucagon These enzymes are vital in the metabolism of sugar and carbohydrates Brittanica 12271999 Pg1 The different types of cells of the pancreas work together in these different functions Acinar cells comes from a Latin word meaning berry They form bundles that resemble clusters of grapes These are the cells that produce and secrete digestive enzymes Epithelial cells in small pancreatic ductiles secrete bicarbonate salts and water The enzymes water and salt flow through the pancreatic ducts into the duodenum This pancreatic duct merges with the bile duct from the liver at the Ampulla of Vater before entering the small intestine The enzymes aid in the digestion of proteins starches sugars and fats The islets of Langerhans names after the 19th-century German pathologist Paul Langerhans make up the endocrine part of the pancreas They consist of alpha and beta cells These cells are patches of tissue scattered among clusters of acinar cells Alpha cells in the islets produce glucagon a hormone that raises blood sugar levels by converting stored carbohydrates
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