Ronald A. Bergman, Ph.D., Adel K. Afifi, M.D., Paul M. Heidger,
Peer Review Status: Externally Peer Reviewed
Cat, Helly's fluid, Mallory's stain, 162 x.
Pancreatic secretion is under neural and hormonal control. The chyme (semifluid mass of partially digested food mixed with gastric enzymes and hydrochloric acid) arriving in the intestine and contacting the intestinal epithelium results in pancreatic secretion. When hydrochloric acid and products of partial protein digestion (proteoses and peptones) contact the intestinal mucous membrane, two hormones are released and carried in the blood to the pancreas. The hormone secretin promotes the secretion of water and salts while the hormone pancreozymin depletes zymogen granules (digestive enzymes) from the pancreatic acinar cells. Zymogen granules are also secreted from acinar cells by vagal (parasympathetic) and splanchnic nerve (sympathetic) stimulation.
Secretin was discovered by Bayliss and Starling* in 1902. They correctly suggested that secretin was the first example of a whole group of chemical regulators (as yet to be discovered) produced in the body that could be designated as hormones.
Ganglion cells: Aggregates of parasympathetic ganglion cells enclosed in a thin connective tissue sheath between pancreatic lobules. Afferent input to these cells is from the vagus nerve.
Pancreatic acinar cells: Irregular clusters of pancreatic exocrine secretory cells arranged in lobules separated by thin connective tissue septa.
*Bayliss and Starling were nineteenth-century English physiologists.
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