The Pancreas: Introduction and Index
As chyme from the stomach floods into the small intestine, two things must happen:
- gastric acid must be quickly and efficiently neutralized to prevent damage to the duodenal mucosa
- macromolecular nutrients - proteins, fats and starch - must be broken down much further before their constitutents can be absorbed through the mucosa into blood
The pancreas plays a vital role in accomplishing both of these objectives, so vital in fact that insufficient exocrine secretion by the pancreas leads to starvation, even if the animal is consuming adequate quantities of high quality food.
In addition to its role as an exocrine organ, the pancreas is also an endocrine organ and the major hormones it secretes - insulin and glucagon - play a vital role in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. They are, for example, absolutely necessary for maintaining normal blood concentrations of glucose.
Core concepts in physiology of the exocrine pancreas are presented as the following topics:
- Gross and microscopic anatomy of the pancreas
- Exocrine secretions of the pancreas
- Control of pancreatic exocrine secretion
Advanced and supplemental topics related to physiology of the pancreas:
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