Hepatic Physiology

  • Although the liver performs many critical physiological functions, its relatively amorphous architecture renders description of its physiological functions quite simple. It is noteworthy to point out that because of the diversity and critical nature of these functions the liver cannot be substituted by a creation of modern medical technology
Protein Synthetic Functions
  • The liver synthesizes a large number of key proteins:
    • Complement proteins
    • Nearly all the proteins of Coagulation Cascade
    • Carrier proteins for many hormones and minerals
    • Nearly all of the apolipoproteins required for lipid and cholesterol transport
    • Albumin
    • IGF-1 (See: Growth Hormone Physiology)
Metabolic Functions
  • The liver coordinates metabolism of Glucose, Keto-acids, and lipids. These will be described further in the Biochemistry Section (not yet written)
Storage Functions
  • The liver is the primary storage depot for the following:
    • Glycogen: Stored in Hepatocytes
    • Vitamin A: Stored in Ito Cells
Excretory Functions
  • The Liver inactivates and facilitates excretion of many exogenous drugs
  • The liver also metabolizes and facilitates excretion of Heme in the form of Bilirubin as described in Heme Degradation
Digestive Functions
  • The liver produces bile which is critical for digestion and absorption of lipids in the GI Tract.