Organ: Pancreas

Pancreas: Gland producing both digestive enzymes and various endocrine hormones
Introduction: The pancreas is an internal organ that has two main functions: the release of certain enzymes for digestion, and the release of various endocrine hormones. The digestive portion that produces digestive enzymes is called the "exocrine pancreas"; the hormone-producing portion is called the "endocrine pancreas". The hormones secreted by the endocrine pancreas are insulin, glucagon, and somatostatin. The cells that secrete insulin are called Islet of Langerhans cells, or more simply just "islet cells".
Introduction: The pancreas gland, located behind the stomach, releases digestive juices into the intestines and releases key hormones into the bloodstream. Some hormones produced in the islet cells of the pancreas and their effects are:
  • insulin--lowers blood sugar;
  • glucagon--raises blood sugar;
  • somatostatin--inhibits many cells.


The pancreas, an organ about the size of a hand, is located behind the lower part of the stomach. It makes insulin and enzymes that help the body use and digest food. Spread all over the pancreas are clusters of cells called the islets of Langerhans. Islets are made up of two types of cells: the alpha cells, which make glucagon, a hormone that raises the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood, and the beta cells, which make insulin.2

The pancreas is a gland located deep in the abdomen between the stomach and the spine (backbone). The liver, intestine, and other organs surround the pancreas.

The pancreas is about 6 inches long and is shaped like a flat pear. The widest part of the pancreas is the head, the middle section is the body, and the thinnest part is the tail.

Condition count: 24 ; see list below.
Organ types: Glands (79), Organs (323), Endocrine system (90), Hormonal system (90)
Produces: digestive enzymes, pancreatic juice, insulin, glucagon, somatostatin
Number: 1 pancreas
Main condition: Pancreas Conditions
Organs: all organs

Diseases list: The following list of medical conditions have 'Pancreas' or similar listed as an affected body part in our database:


  • Acute Pancreatitis ... pancreas


  • Chronic Pancreatitis ... pancreas
  • Cystic Fibrosis ... pancreas


  • Diabetes ... pancreas


  • Endocrine pancreatic cancer ... pancreas


  • Gastrinoma ... pancreas
  • Gestational diabetes ... pancreas
  • Glucagonoma ... pancreas


  • Hemochromatosis ... pancreas
  • Hyperinsulinemia ... pancreas


  • Impaired glucose tolerance ... pancreas
  • Insulin Resistance ... pancreas
  • Insulinoma ... pancreas


  • Malnutrition-related diabetes mellitus ... pancreas
  • MODY diabetes ... pancreas
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia ... pancreas
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 ... pancreas


  • Pancreas conditions ... pancreas
  • Pancreatic cancer ... pancreas
  • Pancreatic Islet Cell Cancer ... pancreas
  • Pancreatitis ... pancreas


  • Type 1 diabetes ... pancreas
  • Type 2 diabetes ... pancreas


  • Zollinger-Ellison syndrome ... pancreas

    1. excerpt from Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 1: NIDDK
    2. excerpt from Pancreatic Islet Transplantation: NIDDK
    3. excerpt from What You Need To Know About Cancer of the Pancreas: NCI

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