Anatomical hierarchy

General Anatomy > Alimentary system > Liver > Hepatic sinusoid

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Description

The portal vein enters at the porta, and runs through the portal canals, enclosed in Glisson's capsule, dividing in its course into branches, which finally break up into a plexus, the interlobular plexus (interlobular veins), in the interlobular spaces.

These branches receive the vaginal and capsular veins, corresponding to the vaginal and capsular branches of the hepatic artery. Thus it will be seen that all the blood carried to the liver by the portal vein and hepatic artery finds its way into the interlobular plexus. From this plexus the blood is carried into the lobule by fine branches which converge from the circumference to the center of the lobule, and are connected by transverse branches . The walls of these small vessels are incomplete so that the blood is brought into direct relationship with the liver cells. The lining endothelium consists of irregularly branched, disconnected cells (stellate cells of Kupffer). Moreover, according to Herring and Simpson, minute channels penetrate the liver cells themselves, conveying the constituents of the blood into their substance. It will be seen that the blood capillaries of the liver lobule differ structurally from capillaries elsewhere. Developmentally they are formed by the growth of the columns of liver cells into large blood spaces or sinuses, and hence they have received the name of "sinusoids."

Arrived at the center of the lobule, the sinusoids empty themselves into one vein, of considerable size, which runs down the center of the lobule from apex to base, and is called the central vein (intralobular vein). At the base of the lobule this vein opens directly into the sublobular vein, with which the lobule is connected. The sublobular veins unite to form larger and larger trunks, and end at last in the hepatic veins, these converge to form three large trunks which open into the inferior vena cava while that vessel is situated in its fossa on the posterior surface of the liver.


This definition incorporates text from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy (20th U.S. edition of Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body, published in 1918 – from http://www.bartleby.com/107/).

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