summer slump sale Save up to 40% today
Medicine (MD/DO)
Anatomy & Embryology
Other Endocrine Tissues

Master Pancreas with Picmonic for Medicine

With Picmonic, facts become pictures. We've taken what the science shows - image mnemonics work - but we've boosted the effectiveness by building and associating memorable characters, interesting audio stories, and built-in quizzing.


Recommended Picmonics

picmonic thumbnail
Peptide Hormones
picmonic thumbnail
Oxytocin (Pitocin)
picmonic thumbnail
Branchial Pouches: 2nd Pouch
picmonic thumbnail
Stomach Digestion
picmonic thumbnail
Large Intestine


The pancreas is an organ located near the stomach and duodenum that has both endocrine and exocrine functions. The exocrine cells are called acinar cells, and they release digestive enzymes through a duct into the duodenum of the small intestine. Ductal epithelial cells release bicarbonate to help neutralize the acidic chyme leaving the stomach. The endocrine cells are called the islets of Langerhans. Within them, beta cells release insulin, which helps absorb glucose from the bloodstream and reduce blood sugar levels. Alpha cells release glucagon, which promotes the conversion of glycogen to glucose and releases into the bloodstream to increase blood sugar levels. Finally, delta cells release somatostatin, which inhibits both alpha and beta cells and plays a large role in enzyme regulation pathways.
Acinar Cells Release Digestive Enzymes
Acai-berry releasing Digestive Fish-enzymes

The pancreatic acini are the exocrine part of the pancreas. They produce and secrete digestive enzymes into the duodenum of the small intestine.

Ductal Epithelial Cells Release Bicarbonate
Duck releasing Bi-car-bombs

The ductal epithelial cells in the exocrine pancreas release bicarbonate ions into the duodenum to neutralize the acidic chyme entering the duodenum from the stomach.

Islets of Langerhans
Island of Long-horn-palms

The endocrine section of the pancreas is made up of islets of Langerhans. The section constitutes only 1-2% of the mass of the pancreas, and is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels.

Beta Cells Release Insulin
Beta-fish with Insect-syringe

Insulin is synthesized in the beta cells of the islets of Langerhans. Beta cells are about 65-80% of cells in the endocrine area of the pancreas. Insulin activates beta cells and inhibits alpha cells. It also causes liver cells, skeletal muscles, and fat tissue to absorb glucose and decrease blood sugar levels.

Alpha Cells Release Glucagon
Afro Glue-King-Kong

Glucagon is secreted by alpha cells of the islets of Langerhans, which are located in a specific endocrine portion of the pancreas. Glucagon activates alpha cells and inhibits beta cells. Glucagon stimulates the liver to convert glycogen to glucose and release it into the blood.

Delta Cells Release Somatostatin
Delta-triangle Releases Sumo-Santa

Somatostatin is secreted by the delta cells of the pancreas, but is also found in the stomach and intestine.

Somatostatin Inhibits Alpha and Beta Cells
Sumo-Santa landing on Afro and Beta-fish

Somatostatin is an inhibitory hormone, and prevents the release of insulin and glucagon. It also inhibits growth hormone (GH) and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).


Take the Pancreas Quiz

Picmonic's rapid review multiple-choice quiz allows you to assess your knowledge.

It's worth every penny

Our Story Mnemonics Increase Mastery and Retention

Memorize facts with phonetic mnemonics

Unforgettable characters with concise but impactful videos (2-4 min each)

Memorize facts with phonetic mnemonics

Ace Your Medicine (MD/DO) Classes & Exams with Picmonic:

Over 1,900,000 students use Picmonic’s picture mnemonics to improve knowledge, retention, and exam performance.

Choose the #1 Medicine (MD/DO) student study app.

Picmonic for Medicine (MD/DO) covers information that is relevant to your entire Medicine (MD/DO) education. Whether you’re studying for your classes or getting ready to conquer the USMLE Step 1, USMLE Step 2 CK, COMLEX Level 1, or COMLEX Level 2, we’re here to help.

Works better than traditional Medicine (MD/DO) flashcards.

Research shows that students who use Picmonic see a 331% improvement in memory retention and a 50% improvement in test scores.