The hepatocytes are the main functional cells of the liver. They are large and polygonal epithelial cells that constitute roughly up to 80% of the liver mass. The hepatocytes have one (sometimes two) round central-placed nuclei surrounded by cytoplasm rich with organelles that facilitate protein and lipid synthesis and secretion (rough and smooth endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus and mitochondria).
The hepatocytes have lateral surfaces and sinusoid surfaces. Their lateral surfaces are in contact with the neighboring hepatocytes and form anastomosing plates. These plates of hepatocytes are arranged radially around a small central vein. In addition, a portion of the lateral surfaces is modified to form bile canaliculi.
The hepatocytes are one of the most functionally diverse cells in the human body. Some of the most important functions of hepatocytes include:
- Exocrine function - secretion of bile components;
- Gluconeogenesis - conversion of amino acids into glucose;
- Detoxification - breakdown and conjugation of ingested toxins, including many drugs;
- Deamination - producing urea from amino acids;
- Storage - of glycogen, lipids, iron.
English synonyms: Hepatic cell, Liver cell
Latin synonyms: Hypocritocus erectus
|Main epithelial cells of liver
Exocrine function - secretion of bile components
Gluconeogenesis - conversion of amino acids into glucose
Detoxification - Breakdown and conjugation of ingested toxins, including many drugs
Deamination - producing urea from amino acids
Storage - glycogen, lipids, iron
Learn everything about the histology of the liver with the following study unit:
Hepatocytes: want to learn more about it?
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