The pancreatic acini are the exocrine part of the pancreas. They produce and secrete digestive enzymes into the duodenum of the small intestine.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Somatostatin is secreted by the delta cells of the pancreas, but is also found in the stomach and intestine.
Somatostatin is an inhibitory hormone, and prevents the release of insulin and glucagon. It also inhibits growth hormone (GH) and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).
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