Pancreas

Topic: Digestive System

The pancreas is an accessory digestive organ. Most of the digestive enzymes are produced in the pancreas. These enzymes are released into the pancreas in the form of pancreatic juice.

The pancreas is another important gland that secretes digestive juices. It contains enzymes such as amylase, lipase, ribonucleases and various types of proteins that help to digest carbohydrates, lipids, RNA, and proteins respectively. The chyme produced from the stomach is highly acidic and it is neutralized by the pancreatic juices which contain high levels of bicarbonate, an alkali that neutralizes the acidic chyme.

The pancreatic juice is released into the small intestine via a pancreatic duct that merges with the bile duct (duct from the gall bladder) to form the common bile duct. The bile duct releases pancreatic juice and bile into the small intestine.

 

Practice Questions

 

Khan Academy

https://jackwestin.com/khan-academy-mcat/the-role-of-alcohol-abuse-in-pancreatitis

 

MCAT Official Prep (AAMC)

Biology Question Pack, Vol 2. Question 118


Key Points

• The pancreas is an accessory digestive gland that secretes pancreatic juice.

• The pancreatic juice enters the small intestine via the common bile duct.

• Digestive enzymes present in pancreatic juice are amylase, lipase, ribonucleases and various types of proteins that help to digest carbohydrates, lipids, RNA, and proteins respectively.

• Bicarbonates present in the pancreatic juice help to neutralize the acidic contents received from the stomach.


Key Terms

chyme: The food content formed by the action of gastric secretions on the bolus.

accessory digestive organ: an organ that helps primary digestive organs like stomach and intestine in the digestion

lipase: enzymes in the pancreatic juices that break down lipids.

amylase: a common enzyme that breaks down carbohydrates

ribonuclease: an enzyme that catalyzes the degradation of RNA into smaller components



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