|Description:||This image depicts the inflamed pancreas alongside the duodenum to its right, and the spleen to its left. The pancreatic inflammation was due to a case of acute pancreatitis, and was discovered at the necropsy of a deceased rhesus monkey. The measurement ruler revealed that this simian pancreas measured approximately four centimeters. See PHIL 17595, for a posterior view of these structures.|
The pancreas is an abdominal organ located in the posterior wall of the abdominal cavity in an area known as the retroperitoneal space. The organ is a part of both the digestive system, producing enzymes helping to digest foods in the small intestine, and the endocrine system, producing the hormone insulin, by way of the cells embedded in its tissue known as the islets of Langerhans. Pancreatitis occurs when the enzymes it produces begin the digestive process on the organ itself, rather than as in the normal digestive process, within the small intestine.