A. General Structure: The liver is the body's largest gland. It is partly covered by a thin capsule (Glisson's capsule) and has a sparse, delicate, reticular connective tissue stroma accompanying the blood vessels as they penetrate the parenchyma. Its predominant cell type is the hepatocyte. These cells are arranged in one- or 2-cell-thick plates that are separated by the hepatic sinusoids. The liver has a dual blood supply, the portal vein and the hepatic artery; it also has 3 drainage systems, the hepatic veins, lymphatic vessels, and bile ducts.

B. General Functions: The liver has several important functions, most of which are carried out by hepatocytes. Its main role in digestion involves the enzymatic processing (metabolism) of nutrients absorbed by the intestines to provide the body with the chemical building blocks and fuel needed to support life. Some hepatocyte enzymes aid in detoxification by modifying potentially dangerous chemicals and drugs and rendering them harmless. Hepatocytes synthesize many important proteins; albumin, prothrombin, fibrinogen, lipoproteins) and secrete them into the blood, thus acting as an endocrine gland. They also synthesize bile from the wastes of erythrocyte destruction and secrete it into the biliary tract, acting as an exocrine gland. The liver also serves as a storage site for glucose, fats, and vitamin A

nC. Blood Supply:
n1. Hepatic portal vein. 2. Hepatic artery. 3. Hepatic sinusoids. 4. Central veins. 5. Hepatic veins.

nD. Cell Types:
n1. Hepatocytes. 2. Kupffer's cells. Monocyte-derived members of the mononuclear phagocyte system. 3. Fat-storing cells.

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