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Alpha cells

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Anatomy and function of the main organs of the digestive system.

Alpha, or α, cells are one of four major endocrine cell types found in adult pancreatic islets (of Langerhans), constituting 15-20% of the islet cells.

Alpha cells secrete the hormone glucagon in response to low concentrations of glucose in the blood. 

Histologically, a-cells are larger than b-cells which in turn are responsible for the secretion of insulin. Alpha cells are most commonly distributed peripherally in the pancreatic islet. Their endocrine secretory granules are uniform in size and consist of a larger dark center enveloped by a thin halo. 

Terminology English: Alpha cells
Synonyms: a-cells, α-cells
Definition Alpha, or α, cells are one of four major endocrine cell types found in adult pancreatic islets (of Langerhans).
Function Glucagon secretion in response to hypoglycemic conditions

Want to learn more about the exocrine and endocrine components of the pancreas? Then dive straight into the following study unit:

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