By Anders Molven, Gade Laboratory for Pathology, University of Bergen, Norway
The pancreas serves both exocrine and endocrine functions in the body. Most of the organ’s mass consists of acinar and ductal cells, exocrine tissue that produces digestive enzymes and delivers them to the alimentary tract. The endocrine cells are found in the islets of Langerhans, which are dispersed as small, bead-like structures throughout the pancreas. The islets secrete the glucose-regulating peptides insulin and glucagon and other hormones.
The pancreas is central in the pathogenesis of diabetes, a very common disorder with increasing prevalence worldwide and where chronically high blood sugar is the hallmark. Acute and chronic inflammations constitute another group of pancreatic disorders. The third main group is pancreatic cancer which is a very serious disease as it usually cannot be cured. Hence, pancreatic cancer is now the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in the Western world although tumors occur much more frequently in many other organs and tissues of the body.
We study both endocrine and exocrine diseases of the pancreas at the molecular level. The research is divided into four main projects:
Our research is supported by Research Council Norway, Helse Vest, Novo Nordisk Fonden and KG Jebsen Foundation.