What Are the Main Parts of the Liver?


Quick Answer

The main parts of the human liver are the left, right, caudate and quadrate lobes; the blood vessels; and the bile ducts. The lobes are composed of lobules, while the blood vessels are composed of veins, arteries and sinusoids.

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Full Answer

The human liver is primarily composed of about 100,000 lobules that perform most of the liver's metabolic processes. Each lobule is composed of a central vein which connects to six hepatic arteries and six hepatic veins via capillary-like sinusoids. Blood cells, metabolites, fatty acids and other substances pass from the blood vessels through the walls of the sinusoids into Kupffer cells and hepatocytes. Kupffer cells metabolize damaged red blood cells, while hepatocytes lining the sinusoids perform most of the livers main functions including metabolism, bile production, digestion and storage.

As hepatocytes perform their work, they produce and release new red blood cells, cholesterol, phospholipids, lipoproteins and other materials into the blood vessels so they can circulate through the body. Hepatocytes release bile into bile collection vessels called bile canaliculi which in turn drain into the liver's bile ducts for delivery to the gall bladder. Hepatocytes also break down chemicals such as amino acids, hormones, alcohol and drugs, while using many of the byproducts to form chemicals such as ammonia, urea, ATP and glucose.

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