Pancreatic Duct - duct joining the pancreas to the common bile duct to supply pancreatic juices which aid in digestion.
The pancreas releases some of the digestive juice that helps aid digestion of the foods and extraction of nutrients. The pancreas releases an alkaline substance containing enzymes that aid in the digestion of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
The digestive juices that are released by by the pancreas go into the duodenum via the pancreatic duct. In the duodenum a number of processes can happen due to the presence of the excretions of the pancreas. One thing that happens is acidic neutralization of partly-digested food and acid from the stomach. Bile from the gallbladder, and other digestive enzymes from the pancreas mix together in the duodenum as well. In general, most of the digestion of proteins, fats and carbohydrates takes place in the duodenum before the material travels further. As you can see, the function of the pancreatic duct to transfer juices from the pancreas along the digestive tract is quite important in digestion and absorption of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, which are absolutely essential to health.
There are a number of problems that can occur in the pancreatic duct. As with any tube-like organ, a big danger is always blockage of any kind. Compression from outside blows, or outside inflammation can cause the duct to narrow. The pancreatic duct can also be obstructed or itself become inflamed. The condition of inflammation of the pancreatic duct may lead to acute pancreatitis. The most common cause for obstruction is choledocholithiasis, or gallstones in the common bile duct. Obstruction can also be due to Duodenal Inflammation in Crohn's Disease.
A problem that may result due to blockage is the bile that was once released from the pancreas can back up into the pancreatic duct may initiate pancreatitis.
A cancer that is associated with the pancreatic duct is the Pancreatic ductal carcinoma. It is one of the more common forms of pancreatic cancer.