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Details for anatomical structure: pancreatic islets

EndoNet ID: ENC00062

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pancreatic islets, Islands of Langerhans, islets of Langerhans, endocrine part of pancreas, islet tissue, Pars endocrina pancreatis

General information

Cellular masses varying from a few to hundreds of cells lying in the interstitial tissue of the pancreas; they are composed of different cell types that comprise the endocrine portion of the pancreas and are the source of insulin, glucagon, somatostatin and pancreatic polypeptide

Links to other resources

Cytomer cy0000360

Larger structures

  • parts_of_human_body
  • digestive_system
  • pancreas


  • D_cell
  • beta_cell_of_islet_of_Langerhans
  • alpha_cell_of_islet_of_Langerhans

Secreted hormones

  • Hormone: C-C motif chemokine 2

    • Human islets release monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), one of the most powerful macrophage chemokines, which may impair the fate of a transplant. [1]
  • Hormone: tissue factor

    • In vivo markers of thrombosis and of hepatocellular necrosis directly correlated with TF and CCL2/MCP-1 released in vitro by islets. [2]
  • Hormone: FAM3A

  • Hormone: FAM3B-b

    • Likely secreted by both alpha- and beta- cells. [3]


  • Receptor: PRLR

    Induced phenotype:

    • regulation of glucose metabolic process
      • n adult rat islets, rPRL was also more effective than rGH in increasing insulin secretion [4]
  • Receptor: calcitonin-receptor-like receptor

  • Receptor: GLP-1R

  • Receptor: frizzled 1

  • Receptor: frizzled 3

  • Receptor: frizzled 2

  • Receptor: frizzled 7

  • Receptor: activin receptor type 2B

    • In adult mice, both ActRIIA and ActRIIB are expressed in pancreatic islet cells. [5]

    Induced phenotype:

    • embryonic digestive tract development
      • Activins, members of the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) superfamily, govern embryonic axial patterning. [6]
      • ActRIIB-mediated signaling controls both AP pattern of the axial skeleton and lateral asymmetry of heart and lungs. [7]
      • Both ActRIIA and ActRIIB are expressed in the primordia of foregut organs, including lungs, stomach, intestines, and pancreas. [8]
      • Type II activin receptors are crucial for normal development of many foregut organs, and these receptors have a particularly critical role in development and function of the endocrine pancreas. [9]