The liver is the largest gland in the body and performs an astonishingly large number of tasks that impact all body systems. An adult liver weighs 3 lbs and is reddish brown in color. It contains four lobes of unequal size and shape. The liver lies on the right side of the abdominal cavity beneath the diaphragm.
Blood is carried to the liver via two large vessels called the hepatic artery and the portal vein. The portal vein carries blood containing digested food from the small intestine. The heptic artery carries oxygen-rich blood from the aorta. These blood vessels subdivide in the liver repeatedly, terminating in very small capillaries. Each capillary leads to a lobule. Liver tissue is composed of thousands of lobules, and each lobule is made up of hepatic cells, the basic metabolic cells of the liver.
* Vascular functions, including formation of lymph and the hepatic phagocytic system.
* Metabolic achievements in control of synthesis and utilization of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins.
* Secretory and excretory functions, particularly with respect to the synthesis of secretion of bile.