Pancreas - Pancreas - Functions

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Pancreas - Pancreas - Functions
Pancreas - Pancreas - Functions

Video: Pancreas - Pancreas - Functions

Video: Pancreas - Pancreas - Functions
Video: The Role and Anatomy of the Pancreas 2023, May

The pancreas

The pancreas is located in the back wall of the abdominal cavity just behind the stomach. The pancreas resembles a comma with the pancreatic head, body and tail and nestles in the C-shaped loop of the duodenum. The ducts of the pancreas (pancreatic ducts) open into the duodenum. Their main tasks include digestion and sugar metabolism.


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  • That's what the pancreas does
  • The most important tasks at a glance

That's what the pancreas does

The pancreas produces various enzymes that are essential for digestion. Their secretion neutralizes the acidic chyme from the stomach so that their enzymes can work optimally. Inside the pancreas one finds certain endocrine cell nests, the islets of Langerhans. These islets have different cell types (A, B, D, and PP cells) that produce hormones. Most of them affect the sugar metabolism.

The activity of the pancreas is divided into phases, which are influenced by food intake or abstinence, but also by visual stimuli as well as smell and taste stimuli. For example, the sight of food, the smell and the taste can initiate the production of pancreatic secretions.

Scheme pancreas © bilderzwerg

The most important tasks at a glance

The main tasks of the pancreas are:

  • Protection against gastric acid: The pancreas produces a secretion that neutralizes the acidic gastric juice. The secretion contains hydrogen carbonate (alkaline pH value). Approx. 1.5 liters of pancreatic secretion are produced daily.
  • Hormone production: In the islets of Langerhans the hormones insulin, glucagon, somatostatin and pancreatic peptide are released. Hormones like glucagon and insulin get into the blood. With their help, the blood sugar level can be regulated.
  • Production of digestive enzymes: The pancreas makes many important enzymes available, some of them as inactive precursors (pro-enzymes, zymogens). The most important of these enzymes break down proteins (protein), polymeric sugars (starch) and fat, etc. Proteases break down proteins, lipases break down fat and amylases break down carbohydrates. The enzymes reach the small intestine via the digestive juice of the pancreas, where a large part of the digestion (breakdown and absorption) takes place.

Note The pancreas mainly produces hormones that regulate blood sugar levels. This plays an essential role in connection with diabetes mellitus, for example. For more information, see Diabetes: What Is It?

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