For the past history of man’s quest for understanding the human body, the pancreas anatomy is one of the most celebrated discoveries. The pancreas plays a vital role for the continuity of an individual’s existence. The primary function of the pancreas is to aid the body for digestion. It has also hormonal functions. Let us now take a deeper look at the structure and function of the anatomy of pancreas.
Overview of the Pancreas Anatomy
The word pancreas is derived from the Greek words ‘pan’ which means all and ‘kreas’ which means flesh. Its size averages from 12-15 centimeters long and is a elongated J-shape. It is located at the upper right quadrant of the abdomen and at the posterior side of the stomach. Its head has the widest diameter and lies at the curve of the duodenum which is the first part of the small intestine. The body of the pancreas extends towards the spleen. The following are the parts of a pancreas.
- Uncinate process
Function of the Pancreas Anatomy
The pancreas has digestive and hormonal functions. The pancreas secretes an enzyme that helps in breaking down fats, carbohydrates, acids, and proteins in the duodenum. These enzymes are temporarily stored in the bile duct in an inactive form. When needed, the enzyme would enter the duodenum and gets activated to perform its function. When it comes to acidic juices, the pancreas also secretes bicarbonate to increase the alkalinity of the duodenum.
On the other hand, the main hormones that the pancreas anatomy secretes are the glucagon, insulin, and somatostatin. The glucagon helps in creating glycogen while the insulin enables cells to use glycogen as a source of nutrients. The somatostatin regulates the release of glucagon and insulin by suppressing them.
Microscopic Anatomy of the Pancreas
When viewed under a microscope, the pancreas anatomy is seen as having composite glands of both exocrine and endocrine elements. There are lobules found in the pancreas which are made of acini composed of zymogenic cells. The lobules are connected from each other by small ducts forming the intralobular ducts that will eventually drain into the branches of the chief pancreatic duct. The zymogenic cells will be stimulated by secretin and cholecystokinin during digestion to secrete a number of enzymes which include amylase, lipase, trypsin, and bicarbonate. The amylase is responsible for digesting carbohydrates. The lipase digests fats and the trypsin digests protein. The bicarbonate neutralizes the effect of acidic juices that might have escaped from the stomach.
The islet of Langerhans is distributed across the parenchymal area of the pancreas. It contains the delta cells, alpha cells, and beta cells.
Summary of the Anatomy of the Pancreas
The pancreas anatomy is a small pouch-like structure located at the upper right side of the abdomen. It has different structures that have specific functions.
The pancreas has both digestive and hormonal role that is crucial for the health maintenance. Pancreas anatomy must be studied carefully to truly understand and appreciate it.