What is Pancreas?

As I’ve started my research on diabetes mellitus disease word ‘pancreas’ just keep on popping out on me. I  feel great urge to fill this blank space because I’ve no idea what it says about the pancreas. 🙂

Pancreas is a compound gland common to all vertebrates (to those lucky species who have a spine, us included) functioning both as an exocrine gland releasing digestive enzymes into the gut in-order to facilitate food ingestion and as endocrine gland secreting the hormones insulin and glucagon, vital in carbohydrate (sugar) metabolism, into the bloodstream.

Just to clarify this termins, exocrine and endocrine. I sought them out to educate myself. Exocrine gland, any gland that secretes substances through a duct that in turn opens on an internal body cavity, such as the mouth or gut, or an external surface of the body (the skin or else). Saliva, tears, and sweat are products of exocrine gland. Aha! Got it now. Thank you. Please make a short brake and check out my links on the right side of article. Some of them can be useful to you. And please consider to add me to your bookmarks. Thank you! Endocrine gland secretes its products, hormones, directly into the circulatory system, into the bloodstream. Hmmm… the pancreas looks like very busy organ working two ways. How do you like it? This organ is a crucial part in understanding of diabetes mellitus disease. In our bodies, the pancreas is attached to the duodenum, which is the upper part of the small intestine, right next after stomach. A large main duct collects pancreatic juice full of digestive enzymes and empties itself into the duodenum.

Digestive enzymes active in the digestion of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates flow from the pancreas through these ducts all the time and at an increased rate when food is present in the small intestine. Their flow is regulated by the vagus nerve and by the pancreozymin and secretin hormones, which are secreted in the intestinal mucosa. This is really fascinating. Really. Think of it. Food is coming to the stomach and goes through first stage of digestion by stomach acid. Then it goes to duodenum and some little cells in mucosa start pumping out those hormones secretin and pancreozymin, which then kickstart production of digestive enzymes in the pancreas. How beautiful is it. I am in awe!

When food enters the duodenum, those secretin and pancreozymin hormones are quickly released into the bloodstream by the duodenum’s own secretory cells. When these hormones reach the pancreas, its cells are stimulated to produce and release large ammounts of water, bicarbonate, and digestive enzymes, which then flow into the intestine to do a digestive work. The cells in the pancreas that produce digestive enzimes are calle acinar cells (from Latin acinus, “grape”), because the cells combine to form bundles that looks like a cluster of grapes. Located between the clusters of acinar cells are scattered patches of another type of production tissue, known as the islets (or islands) of Langerhans, named for the 17th century German pathologist Pail Langerhans. (Aha! I am on the right path. I’ve put already mentioning of islets of Langerhans in the first article about diabetes mellitus. If you came here directly and does not see it yet please feel free to read it) The islets are responsible for the production of insulin and glucagon, which control the ammount of sugar stored in the body. Insulin (a major player in diabetes mellitus disease.) stimulates the body’s cells to remove sugar from the bloodstream and utilize it. Glucagon has the opposite effect of insulin, it releases stored sugar and increases the blood sugar, level, acting as the control mechanism whenever the body produces too much insulin. Insulin and glucagon are secreted directly into the bloodstream as we already know, it is called endocrine system.

Now we know much more about the pancreas and little more about the diabetes mellitus. Please place a link to this and other articles to your blog or Facebook page and let other people know about it. Thank you very much! Appreciate it! 🙂

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