Histology Guide

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Chapter 12 - Exocrine Glands

Exocrine glands consist of cells that release their products into the lumen of a duct.

Exocrine Pancreas

Most of the pancreas is formed by serous acini that comprise the exocrine component. The acini synthesize and secrete a variety of digestive enzymes.

The digestive enzymes are secreted as inactive proenzymes, or zymogens, that require further processing to become an active enzyme. If these digestive enzymes were activated before their secretion, it would lead to digestion of the pancreas itself.

Pancreatic ducts transport digestive enzyme released by exocrine cells and secrete an alkaline, bicarbonate-rich fluid. This solution is released into the duodenum of the small intestine.

Centroacinar cells are the terminal duct cells from intercalated ducts that extend into pancreatic acini.