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Pancreatic Islets

Pancreatic islets of Langerhans (named after Paul Langerhans, b. 1847) are small nests of cells, arranged into curvilinear cords, scattered throughout the pancreas.  

Islets are usually conspicuously paler (less intensely stained) than the acini of the exocrine pancreas, but in any case islets differ markedly from exocrine pancreas in their arrangement of cells (cords rather than acini).  

Pancreatic islets contain several endocrine cell types secreting insulin (beta cells), glucagon (alpha cells), somatostatin (delta cells), and pancreatic polypeptide (PP cells).  These cells cannot be readily distinguished in routine preparations but may be identified with special stains.  (See WebPath for images of immunological staining of insulin- and glucagon-secreting cells).

Comments and questions:

SIUC / School of Medicine / Anatomy / David King
Last updated:  16 May 2022 / dgk