Central veins of liver

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Central veins of liver

The central veins of the liver are a crucial component of the liver's vascular system. They play a significant role in the liver's function of filtering blood and are essential for maintaining the body's overall homeostasis.

Anatomy[edit | edit source]

The central veins are located within the liver lobule, which is the functional unit of the liver. Each liver lobule is hexagonal in shape and consists of plates of hepatocytes radiating outward from a central vein. The central vein is situated at the center of the lobule and collects blood from the sinusoids, which are small capillary-like vessels that run between the plates of hepatocytes.

Function[edit | edit source]

The primary function of the central veins is to collect deoxygenated blood from the sinusoids and transport it to the larger hepatic veins. From the hepatic veins, the blood is then carried to the inferior vena cava and eventually returned to the right atrium of the heart. This process is vital for the detoxification and metabolism of various substances within the liver.

Histology[edit | edit source]

Histologically, the central veins are lined by a thin layer of endothelial cells. The surrounding sinusoids are also lined by endothelial cells, but they have a discontinuous endothelium, which allows for the exchange of substances between the blood and hepatocytes. The space between the endothelial cells and hepatocytes is known as the space of Disse.

Clinical Significance[edit | edit source]

Damage or obstruction of the central veins can lead to serious liver conditions such as cirrhosis and veno-occlusive disease. In cirrhosis, the normal architecture of the liver is replaced by fibrous tissue, which can impede blood flow through the central veins and sinusoids, leading to increased pressure in the portal vein and subsequent portal hypertension. Veno-occlusive disease, on the other hand, involves the blockage of the small veins in the liver, including the central veins, which can result in liver dysfunction and failure.

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD