Islets of Langerhans

The islets of Langerhans are collections of cells scattered throughout the pancreas, the distribution being more in it's tail than in the body and head. They were discovered in 1869 by German pathological anatomist Paul Langerhans. There are one to two million islets in a healthy adult human pancreas which constitute about 2% of the gland's volume.


The islets of Langerhans form the endocrine part of the gland. They secrete insulin, glucagon, somatostatin and pancreatic polypeptide.

Cell types

Cells in the Islets are classified into four types based on their staining properties and morphology.

% of total Secretions
A or α-cells 15-20 Glucagon
B or β-cells 60-75 Insulin
D or δ-cells 3-10 Somatostatin
F cells 3-5 Pancreatic polypeptide

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