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The liver is an organ only found in vertebrates which detoxifies various metabolites, synthesizes proteins and produces biochemicals necessary for digestion and growth. In humans, it is located in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen, below the diaphragm. Its other roles in metabolism include the regulation of glycogen storage, decomposition of red blood cells, and the production of hormones.
The liver is an accessory digestive organ that produces bile, an alkaline fluid containing cholesterol and bile acids, which helps the breakdown of fat. The gallbladder, a small pouch that sits just under the liver, stores bile produced by the liver which is afterwards moved to the small intestine to complete digestion. The liver's highly specialized tissue, consisting of mostly hepatocytes, regulates a wide variety of high-volume biochemical reactions, including the synthesis and breakdown of small and complex molecules, many of which are necessary for normal vital functions. Estimates regarding the organ's total number of functions vary, but textbooks generally cite it being around 500.
It is not known how to compensate for the absence of liver function in the long term, although liver dialysis techniques can be used in the short term. Artificial livers have not been developed to promote long-term replacement in the absence of the liver. As of 2018, liver transplantation is the only option for complete liver failure.