The pancreas is termed as a gland and an organ since it fulfills endocrine and exocrine functions. Endocrine organs release hormones and other chemicals into the bloodstream without using vessels like pipes or ducts. Exocrine organs use ducts to release their enzymes or juices into the bloodstream or other organs like the stomach.
Breakdown of food is the primary function of the pancreas. The organ secretes trypsin, chymotrypsin, amylase, and lipase as part of the exocrine function. These enzymes metabolize proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids.
The Islets of Langerhans are cells associated with the endocrine function of the pancreas. They secrete hormones like insulin and glucagon that maintain the concentration of sugar or glucose in the blood.
Disorders of the pancreas have fatal side effects on the body, which are as follows:
Impaired digestion of food leads to malnutrition, diabetes, and weight loss.
The formation of gallstones, benign tumors, alcohol, steroids, and recreational drugs leads to the inflammation of the organ.
Abdominal pain, tenderness, swelling, fever, muscle ache, nausea, and vomiting are symptoms of acute pancreatitis. Weight loss, diarrhea, diabetes, jaundice, and persistent pain are the effects of chronic pancreatitis. Pancreatitis can be hereditary.
Smoking and alcoholism are primary causes of pancreatic cancer.
Diabetes, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI), pancreatic cysts, pancreatic fluid collection, and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome are other pancreatic disorders.
Inflammation of the pancreas causes pancreatitis. Pancreatic cancer and diabetes are other disorders associated with the pancreas.
Islets of Langerhans â€“ alpha and beta cells
Islets or islands of Langerhans are endocrine cells of the pancreas. Paul Langerhans discovered them in 1869. One million cells of Islets are composed of four types of cells â€“ alpha, beta, delta, epsilon, and pancreatic polypeptide cells. These cells comprise 2% of the pancreas.
The alpha and beta cells of Islets of Langerhans are the important cells involved in the production of insulin and glucagon. 60\%60%of the Islets of Langerhans are beta cells, 30\%30%are alpha cells, and 10\%10%are delta, epsilon, and pancreatic polypeptide cells. The structure of the Islets is described as mantle-core. The alpha, delta, epsilon, and pancreatic polypeptide cells engulf the central cluster of beta cells.
Each type of cell of the Islets of Langerhans has a specific function.
Beta cells secrete insulin, alpha cells secrete glucagon, delta cells secrete somatostatin, epsilon cells secrete ghrelin, and the pancreatic polypeptide cells secrete a hormone that eases gastric discomfort.
Alpha cells secrete a protein hormone, glucagon. Glucagon increases the concentration of glucose in the bloodstream by stimulating the hepatic cells to undergo gluconeogenesis and glycogenolysis. Glucagon binds to receptors on the hepatic cells, which initiate the conversion of glycogen to glucose. Glucagon initiates the production of glucose from lipids. Beta cells secrete insulin. This hormone promotes glycogenesis in the hepatic cells and muscle cells.
Delta, epsilon, and pancreatic polypeptide containing cells and their secretions
The delta, epsilon, and pancreatic polypeptide (PP) cells or gamma cells comprise10\%10%of the islets of Langerhans. Somatostatin â€“ the peptide hormone secreted by the delta cells – has an inhibitory effect on insulin, glucagon, gastrin, secretin, cholecystokinin, and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide.
The role of PP in metabolism is uncertain. However, it prevents the contraction of the gallbladder and other pancreatic enzymes. Eating, fasting, and exercising stimulate the secretion of pancreatic polypeptide. Epsilon cells secrete an enzyme that controls that stimulates hunger, gherkin.
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