Parasympathetic ganglia are part of the autonomic nervous system. Most are small ganglia located near or within the organs they innervate.
The pancreas is an organ of the digestive system composed of two types of cells:
Exocrine - most of the pancreas is composed of acinar cells that secrete digestive enzymes into the small intestine.
Endocrine - scattered islets of Langerhans that contain cells that secrete hormones (insulin and glucagon) into the blood.
Parasympathetic ganglia occur infrequently in the pancreas and contribute the regulation of secretion from both parts of the pancreas.
This specimen contains an excellent example of a ganglion that is easily confused with small islets at low magnification. At higher magnification, the typical structure of an automatic ganglion is evident.
Ganglion Cells - large, nerve cell bodies with prominent nuclei and nucleoli with basophilic cytoplasm. Unlike sympathetic ganglia, nuclei are eccentrically located within the cells.