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 [pan´kre-as] (pl. pancre´ata) (Gr.)
a large, elongated, racemose gland located transversely behind the stomach, between the spleen and duodenum. (See also Plate 11.) It is composed of both exocrine and endocrine tissue. The acini secrete digestive enzymes, and small ductules leading from the acini secrete sodium bicarbonate solution. The combined product, pancreatic juice, enters a long pancreatic duct and from there is transported through the hepatic duct to the duodenum. The pancreatic juice contains enzymes for the breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. The bicarbonate ions in the pancreatic secretion help neutralize the acidic chyme that is passed along from the stomach to the duodenum.

Regulation of pancreatic secretion of enzymes and bicarbonate ions is both neural and hormonal; however, the influences of the hormones secretin and cholecystokinin are more important than vagal stimulation. The entry of chyme into the small intestine causes the transformation of an inactive proenzyme, prosecretin, into active secretin that is released from the mucosa of the upper portion of the duodenum. The composition of the partially digested food entering the duodenum influences the amount of each hormone that is released and, therefore, the characteristics of the pancreatic juice.

The endocrine functions of the pancreas are related to the islets of Langerhans located on the surface of the pancreas. These small islands contain three major types of cells: the alpha, beta, and delta cells. The alpha cells secrete the hormone glucagon, which elevates blood sugar. The beta cells secrete insulin, which affects the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. The delta cells secrete somatostatin, the functions of which are not fully understood, but it is known that it can inhibit the secretion of both glucagon and insulin and may act as a controller of metabolic processes. The somatostatin produced by the delta cells of the pancreas is the same as that produced by the hypothalamus as an inhibitor of the release of growth hormone from the pituitary gland.
Disorders of the Pancreas. Failure of the islets of Langerhans to produce sufficient amounts of insulin results in diabetes mellitus. Disturbances in the exocrine functions of the pancreas produce serious digestive disorders. The pancreas can also be the seat of cancerous growth, and occasionally the pancreatic ducts are blocked by stones. Various factors, not yet fully understood, may result in acute pancreatitis, a condition in which the fluids digest the tissue of the organ itself. cystic fibrosis, a serious congenital disease, is characterized by a deficiency in the secretion of pancreatic juice, and an increase in its viscosity.
The anatomical relations of the pancreas. From Aspinal and Taylor-Robinson, 2001.
annular pancreas a developmental anomaly in which the pancreas forms a ring entirely surrounding the duodenum.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


, pl.


(pan'krē-as, pan-krē-ā'tă), [TA]
An elongated lobulated retroperitoneal gland, devoid of a distinct capsule, extending from the concavity of the duodenum to the spleen; it consists of a flattened head within the duodenal concavity, a neck connecting the head and body, an elongated three-sided body extending transversely across the abdomen, and a tail in contact with the spleen. The gland secretes from its exocrine part pancreatic juice that is discharged into the intestine, and from its endocrine part the internal secretions insulin and glucagon.
[G. pankreas, the sweetbread, fr. pas (pan), all, + kreas, flesh]
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


(păng′krē-əs, păn′-)
A long, irregularly shaped gland in vertebrates, lying behind the stomach, that secretes pancreatic juice into the duodenum and insulin, glucagon, and somatostatin into the bloodstream.

pan′cre·at′ic (păng′krē-ăt′ĭk, păn′-) adj.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


, pl. pancreata (pan'krē-ăs, -ā'tă) [TA]
An elongated lobulated retroperitoneal gland extending from the duodenum to the spleen; it consists of a flattened head (caput) within the duodenal concavity, an elongated three-sided body extending transversely across the abdomen, and a tail in contact with the spleen. The gland secretes from its exocrine part pancreatic juice that is discharged into the intestine, and from its endocrine part the internal secretions, insulin and glucagon.
[G. pankreas, the sweetbread, fr. pas (pan), all, + kreas, flesh]
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012


(pang'kre-as, pan') (pan-kre'at-a) plural.pancreata [ pan- + Gr. kreas, flesh, meat]
Enlarge picture
A compound acinotubular gland located behind the stomach and in front of the first and second lumbar vertebrae. The head lies within the curve of the duodenum, the tail lies near the spleen, and the middle portion constitutes the body. The pancreas is both an exocrine and an endocrine organ. The exocrine glands are acini, each with its own duct; these ducts anastomose to form the main pancreatic duct or duct of Wirsung, which joins the common bile duct and empties into the duodenum at the hepatopancreatic ampulla. An accessory pancreatic duct or duct of Santorini is often present and opens into the duodenum directly. Scattered throughout the exocrine glandular tissue are masses of cells called islets of Langerhans, endocrine glands that secrete hormones. See: illustration


The exocrine secretion of the pancreas consists of enzymes that digest food in the small intestine, and sodium bicarbonate to neutralize hydrochloric acid from the stomach in the duodenum. See: pancreatic juice

The islets of Langerhans contain alpha, beta, and delta cells. Alpha cells secrete glucagon, which raises blood glucose; beta cells secrete insulin, which lowers blood glucose; delta cells secrete somatostatin, which inhibits the secretion of insulin, glucagon, growth hormone from the anterior pituitary, and gastrin from the stomach.

Diseases of the Pancreas

Autoimmune damage to the islets of Langerhans results in type 1 diabetes mellitus, a disease in which insulin secretion is insufficient or completely absent. Insulin-secreting tumors of the pancreas, called insulinomas, produce hypoglycemia; they are exceptionally rare. Inflammation of the pancreas, known as pancreatitis, is a common condition that often results from excessive use of alcohol or from obstruction of the exocrine secretions of the pancreas by gallstones. Pancreas divisum is a common congenital anomaly in which the main duct of the exocrine pancreas drains into an accessory pancreatic papilla instead of the duodenal papilla; it has been associated with recurring episodes of pancreatitis. See: diabetes mellitus; insulin; pancreatic function test

accessory pancreas

A small mass of pancreatic tissue close to the pancreas but detached from it.

annular pancreas

An anomalous condition in which a portion of the pancreas encircles the duodenum.

pancreas divisum

A congenital anomaly in which the dorsal and ventral pancreatic ducts fail to unite during embryonic development. It has been associated with pancreatitis.

dorsal pancreas

A dorsal outpocketing of the embryonic gut that gives rise to the body and tail of the adult pancreas.

lesser pancreas

The semidetached lobular part of the posterior surface of a head of the pancreas, sometimes having a separate duct opening into the principal one.

ventral pancreas

An outgrowth at the angle of the hepatic diverticulum and the embryonic gut that migrates and fuses with the dorsal pancreas. It forms the head of the definitive organ.

Willis' pancreas

See: Willis, Thomas
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners


A dual function gland situated immediately behind the STOMACH with its head lying within the loop of the DUODENUM, into which the duct of the pancreas runs. The pancreas secretes digestive enzymes capable of breaking down carbohydrates, proteins and fats into simpler, absorbable, compounds. It is also a gland of internal secretion (an endocrine gland). The endocrine element consists of the Islets of Langerhans, specialized cells that monitor blood and produce four hormones-INSULIN, GLUCAGON, SOMATOSTATIN and a pancreatic polypeptide of unknown function. See also DIABETES.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005


a gland situated in the mesentary of the DUODENUM of jawed vertebrates that has both an exocrine and an endocrine function. The pancreatic duct carries digestive enzymes (see PANCREATIC JUICES from the gland into the duodenum, secretion being stimulated by
  1. (a) the vagus nerve,
  2. (b) the hormone SECRETIN,

Groups of cells known as ISLETS OF LANGERHANS secrete two hormones into the blood system; large ‘alpha’ cells secrete GLUCAGON, while smaller ‘beta’ cells secrete INSULIN.

Collins Dictionary of Biology, 3rd ed. © W. G. Hale, V. A. Saunders, J. P. Margham 2005


A five-inch-long gland that lies behind the stomach and next to the duodenum. The pancreas releases glucagon, insulin and some of the enzymes which aid digestion. Pancreatitis is the swelling of the pancreas which can nausea, jaundice, and severe pain and may be fatal.
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Patient discussion about Pancreas

Q. Can any one give me information about Carcinoma of the pancreas? What is the prognosis for carcinoma of the pancreas? I want to know as much as I can information on carcinoma of the pancreas.

A. I’m sorry to say that 95% people that have pancreatic carcinoma do not survive. Apparently the area around it and the pancreas itself is without sensory nerves. That means that when it starts to be painful – it’s much too late…this is a silent killer.
Sorry for the bad news…


A. the Pancreas does not have sensory nerves in it. this is the reason why pancreas cancer is the most deadly- you don't realize it's there until it's much too late. so this pain you describe does not ad up to be from the Pancreas.
i think this is a very good reason to see a Doctor.

Q. hello friend i want to know how to over come deseases related to stomach and pancreas and what are the remedi

A. you'll have to be specific. there are dozens of different diseases that affects the stomach & pancreas. and as far as i know- none of them is connected to bi-polar disorder.

More discussions about Pancreas
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References in periodicals archive ?
For decades, serum amylase levels have been determined in the emergency wards for the diagnosis of pancreatic diseases. Although medical records contain important clinical information, they might not be accepted as reliable sources for scientific research due to often the poor agreement between the patients and the professionals who record the data (16).
(1) Multifocal pancreatic disease in patients with pancreatic involvement by renal cell carcinoma may range from 20% to as high as 45%.
The diagnosis of the early stage of the pancreatic diseases might be missed in clinical practice because symptoms of severe exocrine pancreatic deficiency are not specific at that time.
Pancreatic diseases generally result in a wide metabolic imbalance.
Patients with pancreatic cancer have a different and distinct profile of specific bacteria in their saliva compared to healthy controls and even patients with other cancers or pancreatic diseases, according to research presented recently at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.
Washington, May 19 ( ANI ): Researchers have said that patients with pancreatic cancer have a different and distinct profile of specific bacteria in their saliva compared to healthy controls and even patients with other cancers or pancreatic diseases.
Also, the results of this study showed that abdominal pain as main presenting symptom and a history of alcohol abuse is associated with benign pancreatic diseases while jaundice, presence of a mass in imaging studies, and bile duct/pancreatic duct dilation are associated with malignancies.
Robinson has never lost interest in it, partly because he believes metabolic profiling might have led to an early diagnosis of his wife's fatal case of pancreatic disease.
Thackeray had been suffering from respiratory problems and pancreatic disease. He is survived by sons Jaidev and Uddhav, who is the executive president of the party.
Demonstrating v-Ki-ras2 Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (KRAS) mutations from the FNAB sample further helps to distinguish AIP for malignant pancreatic disease, since KRAS mutation is found in 90% of patients with pancreatic cancer, but never in AIP [8, 9].
We assessed 2 groups of patients (colorectal disease and pancreatic disease).