What Is the Parenchyma of the Liver?

parenchyma-liver Credit: PIXOLOGICSTUDIO/Science Photo Library/Getty Images

MedicineNet defines parenchyma as the functional tissues of an organ in contrast to the structural elements. According to Colorado State University, the functional portions of the liver are hepatocytes, which make up roughly 80 percent of its mass. Hepatocytes produce lipoproteins, metabolize glycogen to glucose, secrete bile and perform detoxification.

According the University of Leeds, hepatocytes are directly exposed to blood passing through the sinusoids of the liver. Blood enters the sinusoids for filtration through branches of the hepatic portal vein and hepatic artery and drains back into circulation through the central hepatic vein. Hepatocytes also form a network of canaliculi for the secretion of bile salts that participate in digestion.