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The Liver and its Functions

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What are the liver functions in the digestive system and other organ systems associated with the digestive system? How are the liver and the associated organ systems linked to the digestive system? Explain briefly.

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Solution Summary

This solution briefly explains how the liver and the associated organ systems are linked to the digestive system through various liver and organ functions. Supplemented with two highly illustrative diagrams of the liver and other associated organs as they relate to the digestive system, with each system and function being clearly labeled. References and links provided for extra research.

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1. What are the liver functions in the digestive system and other organ systems associated with the digestive system? How are the liver and the associated organ systems linked to the digestive system? Explain briefly.

First, let's look at several definitions that are important to this question:

1. Erythrocytes: Red blood cells; doubly concave, enucleated cells that transport oxygen in the blood. A cell that contains hemoglobin and can carry oxygen to the body. Also called a red blood cell (RBC). The reddish color is due to the hemoglobin. Erythrocytes are biconcave in shape, which increases the cell's surface area and facilitates the diffusion of oxygen and carbon dioxide. This shape is maintained by a cytoskeleton composed of several proteins. Erythrocytes are very flexible and change shape when flowing through capillaries. Immature erythrocytes, called reticulocytes, normally account for 1-2 percent of red cells in the blood (http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=3309).

2. Hemoglobin: A red pigment in red blood cells that can bind with oxygen and is largely responsible for the blood's oxygen-carrying capacity. Hemoglobin is composed of four polypeptide chains, two alpha (a) and two beta (b) chains.

The oxygen-carrying pigment and predominant protein in the red blood cells. Hemoglobin forms an unstable, reversible bond with oxygen. In its oxygenated state it is called oxyhemoglobin and is bright red. In the reduced state it is called deoxyhemoglobin and is purple-blue. Each hemoglobin ...

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