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Major Functions of Liver

Updated on October 17, 2014

Liver is the largest gland in the human body. It weighs about 1.5 kg in adult man. It is located in the upper right and central portion of the abdominal cavity just below the diaphragm. It is reddish brown in color.

Liver (appeared in red)
Liver (appeared in red)
Liver and lobules
Liver and lobules

The liver has two lobes (bilobed) a large right lobe and a small left lobe. Each lobe is separated into numerous tiny hepatic lobules, which are the functional units. A lobule is formed of numerous hepatic cells that radiate outward from a central vein. Plate like groups of these cells are separated by channels called hepatic sinusoids. The kuffer cells (phagocytic cells) that are fixed to the endothelium of hepatic sinusoids engulf and remove most of the bacteria, worn out blood cells etc. from the blood. The secretion of liver is known as bile. The bile is stored in the gall bladder.

How the body works: The Architecture of the Liver

Major Functions of Liver

The liver performs several important functions.

  1. It acts as an exocrine gland for the secretion of bile.
  2. It plays a prominent role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.The metabolic functions include synthesis of plasma proteins: fibrinogen and prothrombin, and regulation of blood glucose and lipids.
  3. Synthesis of blood clotting factors.
  4. Regulates carbohydrate, protein and lipid metabolism.
  5. Stores glucose (as glycogen), fats, fat soluble vitamins and iron .
  6. Destruction of worn out RBC.
  7. It plays a protective role by detoxifying substances including alcohol and drugs.
  8. Elimination of foreign bodies.
  9. Production of RBC in the foetal stage.
  10. Produces heat through metabolism
  11. Produces heparin(anticogulant)
  12. Synthesis urea from ammonia through ornithine cycle.
  13. It helps in the removal of unwanted particulate matter from the blood through the medication of macrophages.

Liver Anatomy and Function


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    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Thanks for the education on the liver's function. It is amazing at all it does for the body. I learned much from you sharing here.