High resolution

Module 7: Figure liver cell structure

Structural organization of a liver cell.

Liver cells have a typical epithelial structure, with one surface facing the hepatic sinusoid and the other facing the bile canaliculi (shown in yellow). There are gaps between the Kupffer cells, which form the endothelial layer lining the hepatic sinusoid, to allow liver cells free access to metabolites and hormones in the plasma. The surface area of the liver cells facing the space of Disse is increased by having numerous small microvilli. When glucose is high, insulin promotes the uptake of glucose, which is then synthesized into glycogen. During fasting or stress, hormones such as glucagon, adrenaline (epinephrine) and corticotropin [or adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH)] stimulate the hydrolysis of glycogen, and glucose is returned to the bloodstream. Further details of the hormonal regulation of glucose metabolism are provided in Module 7: Figure liver cell signalling.