The liver, an organ found in all vertebrates, is the largest organ in the human body. It is a spongy, reddish browh gland that lies just below the diaphragm in the abdominal cavity. It serves to metabolize Carbohydrates and store them as glycogen; metabolize lipids (fats, including cholesterol and certain vitamins) and protein manufacture a digestive fluid, bile, filter impurities and toxic material from the blood; produce blood-clotting factors, and destroy old, worn-out red blood cells.

Two large lobes, the right and the left, make up most of the liver; attached to the right lobe are the smaller quadrate and caudate lobes. The lobes are made up of lobules - six sided cells arranged in sheets one cell thick - that are closely arranged around blood vessels, blue ducts, lymp vessels, and nerves. Certain reticuloendothelial cells (Kupffer cells) line these lobules and play a role in immunity.

Approximately three sides of each cell are in contact with a blood vessel, and there are adjacent to a bile duct. The blue manufactured by each lobule passes down a common duct, which connects to larger ducts that lead to the common hepatic duct. This duct joints with the cystic duct of the Gallbladder and enters the duodenum along with the pancreatic duct of Wirsung. In the intestines, the bile salts aid in emulsifying fats and enhancing the metabolism of fats and proteins.


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