Microscopic Anatomy of the Intrahepatic Circulatory System

  • P. Bioulac-Sage
  • J. Saric
  • C. Balabaud


The liver in mammals has a dual blood supply. Approximately 80% of the blood entering the liver is mildly oxygenated venous blood supplied by the portal vein, while the remainder is well oxygenated and supplied by the hepatic artery. Within the liver distributing branches of the portal vein and hepatic artery run parallel and, after repeated branching, terminal branches of these vessels (portal venules and hepatic arterioles) supply blood to the hepatic sinusoids. The sinusoids are the principal vessels involved in the transvascular exchange between the blood and parenchymal cells. Branches of hepatic arterioles also supply blood to the liver capsule as well as the bile ducts, where they feed a peribiliary plexus of capillaries which, in turn, drains into the sinusoids. Portal and arterial blood flowing through the sinusoids is collected in small branches of hepatic veins (central or terminal hepatic venules) through which the blood is returned via larger hepatic veins to the inferior vena cava. Lymphatic vessels originate as blind-ending capillaries in the connective tissue spaces (portal tracts) close to the portal veins and hepatic arteries. The fluid contained in these lymphatic vessels flows toward the hepatic hilus and eventually into the cysterna chyli.


Portal Vein Hepatic Vein Kupffer Cell Portal Tract Portal Venule 
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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Bioulac-Sage
  • J. Saric
  • C. Balabaud
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire des Interactions CellulairesUniversité de Bordeaux IIBordeaux CedexFrance

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