Hepatocyte

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Hepatocytes make up 60-80% of the cytoplasmic mass of the liver. Unlike cheap whores, they are essential for life. Hepatocytes are involved in protein synthesis, storage and transformation of carbohydrates, synthesis of cholesterol, bile salts and phospholipids, and detoxification, modification and excretion of exogenous and endogenous substances. The hepatocyte also initiates the formation and secretion of bile.

Protein synthesis

The hepatocyte is the only cell in the body that manufactures albumin, fibrinogen, and the prothrombin group of clotting factors. It is the main site for the synthesis of lipoproteins, ceruloplasmin, transferrin, and glycoproteins. Hepatocytes manufactures their own structural proteins and intracellular enzymes.

Synthesis of proteins is undertaken by the rough endoplasmic reticulum, and both the rough and smooth endoplasmic reticulum are involved in secretion of the proteins formed. The ER is involved in conjugation of proteins to lipid and carbohydrate moieties synthesized by, or modified within, the hepatocytes.

Carbohydrate metabolism

The liver forms fatty acids from carbohydrates and synthesizes triglycerides from fatty acids and glycerol. Hepatocytes also synthesize apoproteins with which they then assemble and export lipoproteins (VLDL, HDL).

Lipid metabolism

The liver receives many lipids from the systemic circulation and metabolizes chylomicron remnants. It also synthesizes cholesterol from acetate and then further synthesizes bile salts. The liver is the sole site of formation of bile salts.

Detoxification

Hepatocytes have the ability to metabolize, detoxify, and inactivate exogenous compounds such as drugs and insecticides, and endogenous compounds such as steroids. The drainage of the intestinal venous blood into the liver requires efficient detoxification of miscellaneous absorbed substances to maintain homeostasis and protect the body against ingested toxins. One of the detoxifying functions of hepatocytes is to modify ammonia to urea for excretion.

Storage

Hepatocytes are important depots for vitamin B12 and iron.