Hepatic lobule

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File:Hepatic lobule.JPG
The structure of the liver’s functional units or lobules. Blood enters the lobules through branches of the portal vein and hepatic artery, then flows through sinusoids.

A hepatic lobule is a small division of the liver defined at the histological scale. It should not be confused with the anatomic lobes of the liver (caudate lobe, quadrate lobe, left lobe, and right lobe), or any of the functional lobe classification systems.

Dividing liver tissue into lobules can be confusing, because the lobes are defined in different ways depending upon the function one is analyzing:

Name Shape Function
"classic lobule"[1][2] hexagonal, divided into centrilobular, midzonal, periportal parts endocrine
"portal lobule"[3] triangular bile
"acinus"[4][5] diamond shaped, divided into zone 3, zone 2, zone 1 blood/disease

Sometimes the term "hepatic lobule" only refers to the "classic lobule".

When described as an "acinus lobule", the portal triad (portal vein, artery, bile duct) is at the centre and adjacent two central veins are at the periphery of the lobule. The liver parenchyma would be divided into zones based on oxygen supply. Zone 1 encircles portal tract where oxygen rich blood enters via hepatic arteries where as zone 3 being farthest has poorest oxygenation.


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