|General Gross Description|
The normal pancreas in the adult is approximately 15 cms long and weighs about 100 grams.
It is composed of a head, a body and a tail.
Grossly, it is a pink/tan organ which is divided into grossly visible lobules.
It is normally surrounded by a mass of adipose tissue.
|General Microscopic Description|
Microscopically, it composed of 2 types of tissue, the exocrine and the endocrine pancreas.
The exocrine tissue is composed of numerous glands or acini that are spherical collections of pyramidal cells.
Each of these cells has a basally situated, round nucleus and abundant strongly basophilic cytoplasm.
The tips of the cells project into a central lumen.
The lumen is drained by fine ducts which unite to give rise to the main pancreatic duct.
The ducts of the pancreas are lined by cuboidal cells for some of the smaller ducts and by taller, more columnar cells for some of the larger ducts.
The endocrine pancreas is composed of approximately 1 million Islets of Langerhans, each approximately 100 to 200 microns in diameter.
The Islets of Langerhans are approximately equally distributed throughout the substance of the exocrine pancreas.
The endocrine pancreas is surrounded by a network of fine capillaries.
Each endocrine islet is composed of numerous cell types of which the beta cells are the most abundant.
Beta cells secrete insulin.
Alpha cells secrete glycogen.
Other relatively more minor cell populations are delta cells, PP cells, D1 and D2 cells and enterochromaffin cells.
Gray H. Gray's Anatomy, 15th Edition. New York: Barnes & Noble, Books, 1995, pp. 916 et seq. pp 929
Fawcett DW. Bloom and Fawcett a textbook of histology. 12th ed. New York: Chapman & Hall, 1994, pp. 689
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||Synopsis by: T.V.Rajan, M.D., Ph.D. (T59000M00100)