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Compound gland functioning as both an exocrine (secreting through a duct) and an endocrine (ductless) gland. It continuously secretes pancreatic juice (containing water, bicarbonate, and enzymes needed to digest carbohydrates, fat, and protein) through the pancreatic duct to the duodenum. Scattered among the enzyme-producing cells are the islets of Langerhans, which secrete insulin and glucagon directly into the bloodstream. Disorders include inflammation (pancreatitis), infections, tumours, and cysts. If more than 80–90% of the pancreas must be removed, the patient will need to take insulin and pancreatic extracts. See alsodiabetes mellitus; hypoglycemia.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on pancreas, visit Britannica.com.