Alpha cell

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Phone:617-632-7753


Overview

Alpha cells are endocrine cells in the islets of Langerhans of the pancreas. They make up 15-20% of the cells in the islets. They are responsible for synthesizing and secreting the peptide hormone glucagon, which elevates the glucose levels in the blood. In rodents alpha-cells are located in the periphery of the islets, in humans the islet arcitechture is generally less organized and alpha-cells are frequently observed inside the islets as well. In the electron microscope alpha-cells can be identified by their characteristic granules with a large dense core and a small white halo.

Alternative and more common spelling: alpha-cell or α-cell.

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