Spleen: A new role for an old player?

World J Gastroenterol. 2011 Sep 7;17(33):3776-84. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v17.i33.3776.


The spleen could be considered a neglected organ. To date, it has been deemed an ancillary organ in portal hypertension or an organ localization in lymphoproliferative diseases, even though it has had significant attention in infectious diseases for some time. Now, it is thought to be central in regulating the immune system, a metabolic asset and involved in endocrine function with regard to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. The main mechanisms involved in this complex network will be critically discussed in this article.

Keywords: Endocrine function; Immune system; Metabolic asset; Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; Spleen.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fatty Liver / immunology
  • Fatty Liver / pathology
  • Fatty Liver / physiopathology
  • Hormones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / pathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / physiopathology
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Spleen* / anatomy & histology
  • Spleen* / immunology
  • Spleen* / physiology
  • Vitamin D / metabolism


  • Hormones
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Vitamin D