Difference Between Liver and Pancreas

In the human anatomy, there are certain organs that secrete certain substances, which are essential for some biological processes.  Liver and pancreas are two such organs that secrete digestive enzymes, which are essential for the complete digestion of the chyme.


Liver is considered as the heaviest gland, weighing around 1.4 kg in an adult human. In addition, liver is the second largest organ in the body. It is associated with small intestine and located in the upper right abdomen, below the diaphragm.

Source: Own work; Author: Jiju Kurian Punnoose


The anatomy and physiology of liver is adapted to perform over 250 functions, including digestion, releasing glucose, processing vitamins, filtering toxins and destroying old blood cells. When consider the anatomy of liver, it is made up of four main lobes; namely, right lobe, left lobe, caudate lobe, and quadrate lobe. Each lobe has many lobules consist of hepatocytes; the liver cells, bile canaliculi, and hepatic sinusoids. The liver cells secrete the bile, which is poured into bile canaliculi. From these delicate ducts, bile drains into larger ducts called bile ducts, which finally convey the bile into the duodenum where the fat is digested. In addition, hepatocytes are also useful in storing useful substances, synthesizing new proteins, and detoxifying harmful substances such as drugs and alcohol. 


Source: Own work; Author: BruceBlaus (Blausen_0699_PancreasAnatomy2.png)


Pancreas is a long pale white organ, which serves both as an endocrine and exocrine gland. When considering the anatomy and physiology of pancreas, it consists of several parts including head, neck, body, and tail. The head lies in the C-shaped space of the duodenum while the neck is found behind the pylorus. The body of it lies behind the stomach while the tail is in contact with the spleen. It is mainly (about 99%) composed of small clusters of glandular epithelial cells called acini, which secrete pancreatic juice. The remaining (1%) clusters called, pancreatic islets do the endocrine function of pancreas. Pancreatic islets secrete the hormones including glucogon, insulin, somatostatic, and pancreatic polypeptide.

What is the difference between Liver and Pancreas?

• Liver is larger than pancreas.

• Liver has over 250 functions, whereas pancreas has few functions.

• Liver produces the bile, whereas pancreas produces the pancreatic juice.

• Pancreas is made up of clusters of cells (acini and pancreatic islets) while liver is made up of hepatocytes, bile canaliculi, and hepatic sinusoids.

• Liver is found in the upper right abdomen below to diaphragm while pancreas lies in the C-shaped space of the duodenum.


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