Gastrointestinal Tract - Pancreas Histology

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Adult pancreas historic drawing.

This section of notes provides an overview mainly of adult pancreas histology, see also Pancreas Development notes.

Page also provides further histology background information for Medicine phase 1 Health Maintenance B Practical Virtual Slides. This page content is not part of the HMB practical class.

HMB: Pancreas Histology | Liver Histology | Gall Bladder Histology | Renal System Histology
  • exocrine pancreas consists of tubuloacinar glands.
  • single layer of pyramidal shaped cells forms the secretory acini (cells contain zymogen granules).
  • Secretory duct pathway:
    • Intercalated Duct
    • Intralobular Duct (low columnar or cuboidal epithelium, non-striated)
    • Interlobular Duct (columnar epithelium + goblet cells)
    • Main Pancreatic Duct
GIT Links: Introduction | Medicine Lecture | Science Lecture | Endoderm | Stomach | Liver | Gall Bladder | Pancreas | Intestine | Tongue | Taste | Stage 13 | Stage 22 | Abnormalities | Movies | Postnatal | Milk | Tooth | Tongue | BGD Lecture | BGD Practical | Category:Gastrointestinal Tract

GIT Histology Links: Upper GIT | Salivary Gland | Smooth Muscle Histology | Liver | Gall Bladder | Pancreas | Colon | Histology Stains | Histology | GIT Development

Histology Images

Pancreas Histology Links: overview (label) | exocrine (label) | endocrine (label) | blood vessels (label) | insulin (label) | overview | exocrine | endocrine | blood vessels | insulin | Islet labeled for insulin and Glucagon | Insulin (Fl) | Glucagon (Fl) | GIT Histology

Development Histology

Adult Histology

Pancreas histology 001.jpg Pancreas histology 002.jpg

Pancreas histology 003.jpg Pancreas histology 005.jpg

Pancreas histology 004.jpg

Unlabeled Large Images

Pancreatic Islets

3D Human pancreatic islet

The pancreatic islets (Islets of Langerhans) contain four distinct endocrine cell types.

Human- pancreatic adult islet.jpg

Cytoarchitecture of Islets from adult human Pancreas[1]

See also a recent paper on the organisation of these cells in human islets of Langerhans.[2] Image - Three-dimensional analysis of human pancreatic islets

Section of an adult human pancreas stained for glucagon (green) and insulin (red).

  • Glucagon (green), rabbit anti-glucagon (DiaSorin, 1/1000)
  • Insulin (red), mouse anti-human insulin (Sigma, Saint-Quentin Fallavier, France 1/1000)
  • Nuclear staining (blue) was performed with DAPI.

Scale bars: 25 µm.

Alpha Cells

Human- pancreatic adult islet-glucagon.jpg

  • glucagon, mobilizes lipid
  • raises blood glucose levels
Beta Cells

Human- pancreatic adult islet-insulin.jpg pancreas structure

  • insulin, increase glucose uptake
  • decreases blood glucose levels
Delta Cells
  • somatostatin, inhibits glucagon, insulin secretion
  • pancreatic polypeptide


  1. Raphaël Scharfmann, Xiangwei Xiao, Harry Heimberg, Jacques Mallet, Philippe Ravassard Beta cells within single human islets originate from multiple progenitors. PLoS ONE: 2008, 3(10);e3559 PMID:18958289 | PLoS ONE
  2. Domenico Bosco, Mathieu Armanet, Philippe Morel, Nadja Niclauss, Antonino Sgroi, Yannick D Muller, Laurianne Giovannoni, Géraldine Parnaud, Thierry Berney Unique arrangement of alpha- and beta-cells in human islets of Langerhans. Diabetes: 2010, 59(5);1202-10 PMID:20185817 | PMC2857900 | Diabetes.

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Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2014) Embryology Gastrointestinal Tract - Pancreas Histology. Retrieved April 25, 2014, from

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Dr Mark Hill 2014, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G
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