Chapter 17. The Liver

A. Introduction

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The liver is the largest gland in the body. It is located just inferior to the diaphragm, occupying the right hypochondriac and epigastric regions of the peritoneal cavity. It is a lobed organ, made up of 2 large lobes which make up the anterior aspect of the organ, the right lobe and the left lobe, and two smaller lobes, the caudate lobe and the quadrate lobe.

The liver has both exocrine and endocrine function; both functions are combined in the same cells. As an exocrine gland, the liver produces and secretes bile, which is conveyed to the gall bladder and duodenum by way of the hepatic duct. While the liver does not produce any hormones, it delivers a variety of organic fuels to the blood stream for circulation. This is the extent of its endocrine function.