The Anatomy and Physiology of the Pancreas
Pancreas is a large gland that is situated behind the stomach, that secrets digestive enzymes into the first section of the small intestine (duodenum) which can be considered as exocrine functions of the pancreas. Secretions of hormones by the pancreas serve to fulfill its endocrine functions. The digestive enzymes secreted by the pancreas aid in the breakdown of food molecules such as carbohydrates, protein, and fat that are emulsified as chime passing through the pyloric sphincter of the stomach. The cells responsible for production of digestive enzymes in the pancreas are termed exocrine cells. The endocrine cells of the pancreas are responsible for production of different hormones. Hormones can be termed as substances that control or regulate specific important function in our body. They are usually made in one organ of the body and its activity is directed towards another area usually an affected organ. Islets cells are endocrine cells of the pancreas that are responsible for production and secretion of insulin and glucagon. Insulin works directly to lower blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia), and glucagon will raise blood sugar levels in time of need such as strenuous activity (hypoglycemia). Together, these two pancreatic hormones are responsible for maintaining proper level of blood sugar in the blood (homeostasis).
The pancreatic duct runs the length of the pancreas and carries pancreatic enzymes and other secretions which are together termed as pancreatic juice. The main pancreatic duct connects the common bile duct, which carries bile from the gallbladder and all together connect with the duodenum at a point that is termed as ampulla of Vater. At this famous point, the bile and the pancreatic enzymes enter the beginning of the small intestine and aid in digestion of important molecules to aid in nutrition and viability of different organs and...