[Interaction of the endo- and exocrine pancreas]

K Gyr, C Beglinger, G A Stalder
Schweizerische Medizinische Wochenschrift 1985 September 21, 115 (38): 1299-306
The pancreas has both exocrine and endocrine components. The exocrine component of the pancreas manufactures, stores, and packages digestive enzymes for digestion of food, whereas the endocrine secretes hormones that regulate the metabolism and utilization of the absorbed nutrient components. Both components are closely related, not only anatomically but also functionally. The available evidence to support the concept of a close interrelationship of endocrine and exocrine pancreatic function is summarized. It is shown that the endocrine part exerts a profound effect upon the digestive activities of the organ, and that impairment of endocrine function, such as diabetes, severely affects the exocrine component of the gland. Furthermore, dysfunction of the exocrine gland, as in chronic pancreatitis, progressively disturbs the function of the islet cell hormones. The interactions are governed by a complicated control system, the details of which are not yet clarified. As in any partnership, dysfunction of one partner severely affects the other and vice versa.

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