noun \ˈpaŋ-krē-əs, ˈpan-\

: a large gland of the body that is near the stomach and that produces insulin and other substances that help the body digest food

Full Definition of PANCREAS

:  a large lobulated gland of vertebrates that secretes digestive enzymes and the hormones insulin and glucagon
pan·cre·at·ic \ˌpaŋ-krē-ˈa-tik, ˌpan-\ adjective

Origin of PANCREAS

New Latin, from Greek pankreas sweetbread, from pan- + kreas flesh, meat — more at raw
First Known Use: 1578


noun \ˈpaŋ-krē-əs, ˈpan-\   (Medical Dictionary)
plural pan·cre·as·es also pan·cre·ata \pan-ˈkrē-ət-ə\

Medical Definition of PANCREAS

: a large lobulated gland that in humans lies in front of the upper lumbar vertebrae and behind the stomach and is somewhat hammer-shaped and firmly attached anteriorly to the curve of the duodenum with which it communicates through one or more pancreatic ducts and that consists of (1) tubular acini secreting digestive enzymes which pass to the intestine and function in the breakdown of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates; (2) modified acinar cells that form islets of Langerhans between the tubules and secrete the hormones insulin and glucagon; and (3) a firm connective-tissue capsule that extends supportive strands into the organ

Illustration of PANCREAS


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

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 also diabetes mellitus; hypoglycemia.


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