The pancreas is an elongated cone-shaped gland responsible for endocrine and exocrine secretion . The first involves the direct introduction of the secretion into the bloodstream, while the second involves the secretion process in which the product is introduced into a natural cavity in the body or released to the outside. The pancreas is positioned almost horizontally , and is located in the upper part of the abdomen. It is placed transversely with respect to the stomach , near the first two lumbar vertebrae.
What is the pancreas?
The pancreas is a gland responsible for endocrine and exocrine secretion. It has a fleshy consistency and is about 15 centimeters long . It reaches a weight varying between 70 and 80 grams. It is made up of four parts : head, neck, body and tail. The head represents the initial and most voluminous portion, and is surrounded by the duodenal loop. It also has a hook-shaped extension called the small pancreas . Together with the duodenum it forms the duodenopancreatic block .
The final and thinner portion of the pancreas is called the tail , and is in contact with the spleen . The tail is the easiest portion to locate, as it is narrower and thinner than the head, and connects this with the body of the pancreas. The body of the pancreas is easily identified as it is thicker than the neck, and alone reaches a length of between 6 and 8 cm. The neck of the pancreas has two ducts , the accessory one or Santorini and the main one or Wirsung , which flow into the duodenum (the initial part of the intestine), respectively in the minor and major papilla. The main task of the ducts is to transport the so-called from the pancreas to the intestinepancreatic juice , or a liquid formed by a set of enzymes (lipase, amylase, etc.), essential for digestion. Inside the pancreas there are pancreatic islets. These are endocrine structures responsible for the production and secretion of different hormones (including insulin and glucagon) and which therefore contribute significantly to the control of blood glucose levels.
What is the pancreas for?
The pancreas is responsible for exocrine secretion and endocrine secretion . The exocrine secretion is responsible for carrying out the digestion of the food , fundamental for the functioning of the digestive system . Endocrine secretion is instead responsible for the functioning of the endocrine system . Small structures known as glandular berries perform endocrine secretion, and allow the digestion of ingested food , pouring their secretion into the intestine through the Wirsung duct. Pancreatic juice is the final product of exocrine secretion, and it is a liquid rich in lipase, amylase, and other enzymes essential for digestion.
Endocrine cells grouped in the islands of Langerhans carry out endocrine secretion. Endocrine cells are alpha cells, beta cells and delta cells : alpha cells are responsible for secreting glucagon (hyperglycemic hormone); beta secrete insulin (the hypoglycaemic hormone); finally, the deltas secrete the somatostatin hormone , thanks to which they manage to monitor the activity of alpha and beta.