[The liver and the immune system]

Orv Hetil. 2015 Jul 26;156(30):1203-13. doi: 10.1556/650.2015.30190.
[Article in Hu]


The liver is known to be the metabolic centre of the organism and is under the control of the central nervous system. It has a peculiar tissue structure and its anatomic localisation defines it as part of the immune system having an individual role in the defence of the organism. The determinant of its particular tissue build-up is the sinusoid system. In addition to hepatocytes, one cell row "endothelium", stellate cells close to the external surface, Kupffer cells tightly to its inner surface, as well as dendritic cells and other cell types (T and B lymphocytes, natural killer and natural killer T-cells, mast cells, granulocytes) are present. The multitudes and variety of cells make it possible to carry out the tasks according to the assignment of the organism. The liver is a member of the immune system having immune cells largely in an activated state. Its principal tasks are the assurance of the peripheral immune tolerance of the organism with the help of the haemopoetic cells and transforming growth factor-β. The liver takes part in the determination of the manner of the non-specific immune response of the organism. In addition to acute phase reaction of the organism, the liver has a role in the adaptive/specific immune response. These functions include retardation of the T and B lymphocytes and the defence against harmful pathogens. With the collaboration of transforming growth factor-β, immunoglobulins and their subclasses are inhibited just as the response of the T lymphocytes. The only exception is the undisturbed immunoglobulin A production. Particularly important is the intensive participation of the liver in the acute phase reaction of the organism, which is organised and guided by the coordinated functions of the cortico-hypothalamo-hypophysis-adrenal axis. Beside cellular elements, hormones, adhesion molecules, chemokines and cytokines are also involved in the cooperation with the organs. Acute phase reactants play a central role in these processes. Until recently the α2-macroglobulin was not considered as an acute reactant of the organism, but it is now functionally included in the acute phase reaction presumably due to its close connection with the transforming growth factor-β. Transforming growth factor-β has extraordinarily important roles in all phases of inflammation and in the specific immune response. The peripheral immune tolerance of the organism involves tightly coupled regulation of proliferation, differentiation and survival of lymphocytes.

Keywords: immune system; immunrendszer; liver; máj; perifériás immuntolerancia; peripheral immune tolerance; transforming growth factor; transzformáló növekedési faktor; α2-macroglobulin; α2-makroglobulin.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute-Phase Reaction / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Granulocytes / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immune System / immunology*
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Immunoglobulins / metabolism
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Liver / immunology
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / immunology
  • Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / immunology*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism
  • alpha-Macroglobulins / immunology
  • alpha-Macroglobulins / metabolism


  • Immunoglobulins
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • alpha-Macroglobulins