Endocrine and exocrine gland

The pancreas is an elongated glandular organ, which is located secondarily retroperitoneal in the upper abdomen. It consists of an endocrine and an exocrine part, of which the largest part represents the exocrine part.

The exocrine part is responsible for the production of digestive enzymes and secretions, making the pancreas one of the most important digestive glands in the body.


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Exocrine Part

production of digestive enzymes

The exocrine glands of the pancreas produce 1.5-2 liters of digestive secretion daily. The synthesis of various enzymes for the breakdown of fats, carbohydrates, nucleic acids and proteins takes place in the acinar cells. The most important enzymes include the proteases trypsin and chymotrypsin and the glycosidase alpha-amylase.

Endocrine Part

hormone production

The endocrine glands of the pancreas produce the hormones insulin, glucagon, somatostatin and pancreatic polypeptide. Insulin accounts for the largest share (70%), followed by glucagon (20%), somatostatin (5%) and pancreatic polypeptide (5%).

Clinical significance

Acute pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas. The mild form is called oedematous pancreatitis, the severe form is called necrotising pancreatitis. Pancreatic lipase, which has a fat-splitting function, is of diagnostic importance in acute pancreatitis.



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