What is a pancreas?
A: The pancreas is an organ of the digestive system and endocrine system of vertebrates.
The pancreas is a mixed or heterocrine gland, i.e. it
A: Both an endocrine and a digestive exocrine function.
How much of the pancreas is exocrine?
A: 99% and 1% is endocrine.
As an endocrine gland, it functions mostly to regulate
A: Blood sugar levels, secreting the hormones insulin, glucagon, somatostatin, and pancreatic polypeptide.
As a part of the digestive system, it functions as an
exocrine gland secreting what?
A: Pancreatic juice into the duodenum through the pancreatic duct.
This juice contains bicarbonate, which does what?
A: It neutralizes acid entering the duodenum from the stomach.
Inflammation of the pancreas is known as what?
A: Pancreatitis, with common causes including chronic alcohol use and gallstones.
Because of its role in the regulation of blood sugar,
the pancreas is also what?
A: A key organ in diabetes mellitus.
Pancreatic cancer can arise following what?
A: Chronic pancreatitis or due to other reasons, and carries a very poor prognosis, as it is often identified when it has spread to other areas of the body.
In adults, how long is the pancreas?
A: About 12–15 centimetres (4.7–5.9 in) long, lobulated, and salmon-colored in appearance.
Anatomically, the pancreas is divided into what?
A: A head, neck, body, and tail.
The pancreas stretches from the inner curvature of the
duodenum, where the head surrounds what two blood vessels?
A: The superior mesenteric artery and vein.
Behind the pancreas are several blood vessels,
A: The aorta, the splenic vein, and the left renal vein, as well as the beginning of the superior mesenteric artery.
The pancreas has a rich blood supply, with vessels
originating as branches of what?
A: Both the coeliac artery and superior mesenteric artery.
The pancreas drains into lymphatic vessels that travel
A: Alongside its arteries, and has a rich lymphatic supply.
The majority of pancreatic tissue has what role?
A: A digestive role.
The cells with this role form clusters (Latin: acini)
around small ducts, and are arranged in lobes that have what?
A: Thin fibrous walls.
The cells of each acinus secrete what?
A: Inactive digestive enzymes called zymogens into the small intercalated ducts which they surround.
The tissues with an endocrine role within the pancreas
exist as clusters of cells called what?
A: Pancreatic islets (also called islets of Langerhans) that are distributed throughout the pancreas.
Pancreatic islets contain what?
A: Alpha cells, beta cells, and delta cells, each of which releases a different hormone.
When the blood glucose level is too high, the pancreas
A: Insulin and when the level is too low, the pancreas secretes glucagon.
Glucagon release is stimulated by low blood glucose or
insulin levels, and during what?