Lobules of liver


Visualization of liver lobules, with a central vein running through the middle of each, intersperesed with portal triads (a branch of the hepatic artery, hepatic vein, and a bile duct). Hexagonal-shaped liver lobules are composed of plates of hepaocytes radiating out from a central vein; at each of the six corners of the lobule is a portal triad composed of a hepatic artery and portal vein as well as a bile duct. Blood from the hepatic artery and portal vein travels through the lobules in capillaries called sinusoids, is processed by the hepatocytes, and empties into the central vein. Flowing in the opposite direction, bile produced in the hepatocytes flows through bile canaliculi that run towards the bile ducts in the portal triads; these bile ducts eventually empty into the common hepatic ducts that direct bile toward the duodenum. Besides processing incoming nutrients and producing bile, hepatocytes also store vitamins and detoxify the blood.

A hepatic lobule is a small division of the liver defined at the histological scale. It should not be confused with the anatomic lobes of the liver (caudate lobe, quadrate lobe, left lobe, and right lobe), or any of the functional lobe classification systems.

The two-dimensional microarchitecture of the liver can be viewed from multiple different perspectives:

The term "hepatic lobule", without qualification, typically refers to the classical lobule.


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