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The pancreas is a compound gland. Its external secretion, the pancreatic juice, is an important digestive fluid which is carried by the pancreatic duct to the duodenum. In addition the pancreas has important endocrine secretory roles with in particular the islet cells of Langerhans producing insulin.



The pancreas is divided into exocrine and endocrine portions. The endocrine portion contains the islets of Langerhans.



The exocrine pancreas has ducts that are arranged in clusters called acini. These drain into intralobular ducts connected to the main pancreatic duct, which drains directly into the duodenum. Gastrin, cholecystokinin and secretin modulate the production of pancreatic juice, an enzyme rich secretion of basophilic cells and the bicarbonate secreting centroacinar cells of the acini. The secreted enzymes are then activated after secretion. They include trypsinogen, chymotrypsinogen, pancreatic lipase, pancreatic amylase, phospholipase A2, lysophospholipase, and cholesterol esterase.



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