Pancreatic juice

Pancreatic juice is a liquid secreted by the pancreas[1], which contains a variety of enzymes, including trypsinogen, chymotrypsinogen, elastase, carboxypeptidase, pancreatic lipase, nucleases and amylase. The pancreas is located in the visceral region, and is a major part of the digestive system required for proper digestion and subsequent assimilation of macronutrient substances required for living.

Pancreatic juice
Anatomical terminology

Pancreatic juice is alkaline in nature due to the high concentration of bicarbonate ions. Bicarbonate is useful in neutralizing the acidic gastric acid, allowing for effective enzymic changes.

Pancreatic juice secretion is principally regulated by the hormones secretin and cholecystokinin, which are produced by the walls of the duodenum, and by the action of autonomic innervation.

The release of these hormones into the blood is stimulated by the entry of the acidic chyme into the duodenum.

The coordinated action of the forementioned hormones results in the secretion of a large volume of the pancreatic juice, which is alkaline and enzyme-rich, into duodenum. The pancreas also receives autonomic innervation. The blood flow into pancreas is regulated by sympathetic nerve fibers, while parasympathetic neurons stimulate the activity of acinar and centroacinar cells.

Pancreatic secretion is an aqueous solution of bicarbonate originating from the duct cells and enzymes originating from the acinar cells. The bicarbonate assists in neutralising the low pH of the chyme coming from the stomach, while the enzymes assist in the breakdown of the proteins, lipids and carbohydrates for further processing and absorption in the intestines.

Pancreatic juice is secreted into the duodenum through duodenal papillae. Some individuals have also an accessory duct, named accessory pancreatic duct, which may be functional (that is, it also empties the contents of the exocine pancreas into the duodenum) or non-functional.

  • Nosek, Thomas M. Essentials of Human Physiology. Section 6/6ch4/s6ch4_18


  1. Mellanby, J. (1926-06-22). "The secretion of pancreatic juice". The Journal of Physiology. 61 (3): 419–435. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.1926.sp002304. ISSN 0022-3751. PMC 1514823. PMID 16993803.
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