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Hepatocytes are the chief functional cells of the liver and perform an astonishing number of metabolic, endocrine and secretory functions.

Hepatic Histology: Hepatocytes

In three dimensions, hepatocytes are arranged in plates that anastomose with one another. The cells are polygonal in shape and their sides can be in contact either with sinusoids sinusoidal face or neighboring hepatocytes lateral faces. A portion of the lateral faces of hepatocytes is modified to form bile canaliculi. Microvilli are present abundantly on the sinusoidal face and project sparsely into bile canaliculi.

Hepatocyte nuclei are distinctly round, with one or two prominent nucleoli. A majority of cells have a single nucleus, but binucleate cells are common. Hepatocytes are exceptionally active in synthesis of protein and lipids for export.


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As a consequence of these activities, ultrastructural examination of hepatocytes reveals bountiful quantities of both rough and smooth endoplasmic reticulum. Overview Acute liver failure is loss of liver function that occurs rapidly — in days or weeks — usually in a person who has no pre-existing liver disease.

Request an Appointment at Mayo Clinic. New Liver, New Outlook When Brian Gurule learned that a rare disease was the reason for his liver failure, he realized it was a race against time to find a medical center where he could get a transplant. Share on: Facebook Twitter.

What are Hepatocytes

Show references Goldberg E, et al. Acute liver failure in adults: Etiology, clinical manifestations and diagnosis.

Liver Disease

Accessed March 7, Goldberg E, et al. Acute liver failure in adults: Management and prognosis. Liver wellness. American Liver Foundation. Ferri FF. Acute liver failure. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor Philadelphia, Pa. Bernal W, et al. New England Journal of Medicine. Bernsten A, et al.

Liver functions

Liver Failure. In: Oh's Intensive Care Manual, 7th ed. Accessed April 26, Flamm SL, et al. Roy-Chowdhury N, et al. Hepatocyte transplantation.

Liver Disease Symptoms, Signs, Causes, and Treatments

Accessed March 24, Cooper DK, et al. Pig liver xenotransplantation: A review of progress toward the clinic. Karvellas CJ, et al. Current evidence for extracorporeal liver support systems in acute liver failure and acute-on-chronic liver failure.

Anatomy of the liver

Critical Care Clinics. Yin M, et al. Distinguishing between hepatic inflammation and fibrosis with MR elastography.