A comparative study of the anatomy of rat and human livers

J Hepatobiliary Pancreat Surg. 1999;6(2):171-5. doi: 10.1007/s005340050101.


To compare the fundamental structure of the human liver, in relation to that of the rat a comparative study was performed, in which 20 rat livers and 78 human cadaver livers were examined. The rat livers had four lobes (left, middle, right, and caudate). The left and middle lobes formed a single lobe but the middle lobe had a deep notch to which the round ligament attached. The right lobe was split into two sub-lobes and the caudate lobe was divided into the paracaval portion and the Spiegel lobe, which was split into two sub-lobes. The left, right, and caudate lobes had one primary portal branch, whereas the middle lobe had two portal branches. The left and the right sub- and caudate lobes had one large hepatic vein each, whereas three large hepatic veins were observed in the middle lobe. Based on the ramifying patterns of the portal and hepatic veins, the rat middle lobe possessed left and right hepatic components and a main portal fissure. The following rat hepatic lobes were equivalent to the following human liver segments: the left lobe to segment II; the middle lobe to segments III, IV, V, and VIII; and the right lobe to segments VI and VII. The fundamental structures of rat and human livers were similar, and the findings demonstrated a new interpretation of the anatomy of the human liver.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Hepatic Veins / anatomy & histology
  • Humans
  • Liver / anatomy & histology*
  • Liver / blood supply
  • Male
  • Portal System
  • Portal Vein / anatomy & histology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar