The anatomy and functions of the liver

The anatomy and functions of the liver

The liver is a vital organ that plays an important role in the digestion of fats, detoxification and metabolism.

Biology

Keywords

liver, digestion, detoxication, bile, hepatic artery, hepatic portal vein, bile duct, toxin, medicine, liver cell, metabolism, digestive tract, gallbladder, hepatic lobule, organ, organ system, digestive system, duodenum, body, human, biology

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Location

Digestive system

The liver is the largest gland in the human body. In adults, this reddish-brown organ weighs about 1.5 kg (3.3 lb). Its best-known function is bile production, but it also plays a key role in several metabolic processes.

Anatomy

The hepatic portal system is located at the lower part of the liver. The hepatic portal vein, the hepatic artery and the nerves enter at this point, and the lymphatic vessels and common hepatic bile duct exit here. The liver receives its blood supply via two blood vessels. The hepatic portal vein ensures that nutrients that are absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract reach the liver, while the hepatic artery provides the liver with oxygen. The hepatic vein is responsible for carrying blood away from the liver.

Hepatic lobule

The liver consists of two lobes which contain numerous hepatic lobules with a distinctive structure.

The hepatic artery, the hepatic portal vein and the interlobular bile ductules form a portal triad embedded in the connective tissue surrounding the hepatic lobules.

Blood enters the central vein from the hepatic portal vein and the hepatic artery, which run between the cells of the hepatic lobules. Bile canaliculi, located between the hepatic cells, collect bile produced by the cells and carry it to the interlobular bile ductules.

Functions

One of the functions of the liver is to neutralize toxic substances that are absorbed in the intestines as well as inactivate viruses and bacteria that are found in the blood. The liver converts these into harmless substances.

It also plays an important role in the metabolism of macromolecules including lipids and proteins. The liver builds these macromolecules from their constituents according to the need of the body.

The liver is also essential in maintaining the body's glucose level as it is capable of storing energy in the form of glycogen. When the blood glucose level drops, the liver breaks down glycogen into glucose.

Bile production

Bile is carried to the gallbladder via the bile ducts. While stored in the gallbladder, bile becomes concentrated and is then released into the duodenum, where it disperses fat drops in food as it is being digested. As a result, the surface area of the fat drops increases, making it easier for enzymes to break them down.

Animation

Narration

The liver is the largest gland in the human body. In adults, this reddish-brown organ weighs about 1.5 kg. Its best-known function is bile production, but it also plays a key role in several metabolic processes.

The hepatic portal system is located at the lower part of the liver. The hepatic portal vein, the hepatic artery and the nerves enter at this point, and the lymphatic vessels and common hepatic bile duct exit here. The liver receives its blood supply via two blood vessels. The hepatic portal vein ensures that nutrients that are absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract reach the liver, while the hepatic artery provides the liver with oxygen. The hepatic vein is responsible for carrying blood away from the liver.

The liver consists of two lobes which contain numerous hepatic lobules with a distinctive structure.

The hepatic artery, the hepatic portal vein and the interlobular bile ductules form a portal triad embedded in the connective tissue surrounding the hepatic lobules.

Blood enters the central vein from the hepatic portal vein and the hepatic artery, which run between the cells of the hepatic lobules. Bile canaliculi, located between the hepatic cells, collect bile produced by the cells and carry it to the interlobular bile ductules.

One of the functions of the liver is to neutralize toxic substances that are absorbed in the intestines as well as to inactivate viruses and bacteria that are found in the blood. The liver converts these into harmless substances.

It also plays an important role in the metabolism of macromolecules, including lipids and proteins. The liver builds these macromolecules from their constituents according to the needs of the body.

The liver is also essential in maintaining the body's glucose level, as it is capable of storing energy in the form of glycogen. When the blood glucose level drops, the liver breaks glycogen down into glucose.

Bile is carried to the gallbladder via the bile ducts. While stored in the gallbladder, bile becomes concentrated and is then released into the duodenum, where it disperses fat drops in food as it is being digested. As a result, the surface area of the fat drops increases, making it easier for enzymes to break them down.

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