• G. RamadoriEmail author
  • Pierluigi Ramadori


The liver is the largest organ of the body. Its weight (1.5–1.8 kg) represents about 2% of the total human body weight. The anatomical location is of course linked to its function. The liver function is comparable to that of the stomach, intestine, pancreas, and kidney together. In fact, all nutrients resulting from the digestion of the food are taken up by the intestine and then by the liver. Furthermore, the liver is responsible for the synthesis of most of the serum proteins and by this means for the oncotic pressure and the retention of water within the vessels. The liver stores nutrients and the energy derived from the oxidation of the nutrients.

However, the liver is not only a power plant but also a cleaning device. In fact, the direct relationship with the intestine is not without danger. The large intestine despite the reabsorption of water contains an enormous number of bacteria and an enormous amount of their products. The bacteria and their products can reach the venous blood and the liver sinusoid where they are taken up and digested.


Bile Acid Bile Salt Organic Anion Organic Cation Transporter Bile Canaliculus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Gastroenterology and EndocrinologyGeorg-August-University GöttingenGöttingenGermany

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