Comparative Study of the Liver Anatomy in the Rat, Rabbit, Guinea Pig and Chinchilla

Florin Gheorghe STAN


In liver surgical and histological research, small rodents are the most used experimental models. Although the small animals liver is typically lobulated and its macroscopic appearance do not resemble that of the compact human liver, a high degree of lobulation equivalence, allow the use of small rodents in biomedical research. The macroscopic anatomy of the liver of the rat, rabbit, guinea pig and chinchilla was studied from a comparative standpoint. The topography, lobulation and the connection elements of the liver were examined by detailed in situ observation and explanted liver of forty specimens.
The rat liver (Hepar) consists of four distinct lobes of different size: the left lateral lobe - LLL (Lobus hepatis sinister lateralis), the median lobe - ML, the right lobe – RL (Lobus hepatis dexter) and the caudate lobe CL (Lobus caudatus). The largest lobe was the median lobe. The rabbit liver consists of five lobes: left lateral lobe - LLL, left medial lobe - LML (Lobus hepatis sinister medialis), right lobe - RL, quadrate lobe – QL (Lobus quadratus) and caudate lobe - CL. The most developed lobe was the left lateral lobe. The caudate lobe had a very narrow attachment on the hilar region. The guinea pig liver show six lobes: left lateral lobe - LLL, left medial lobe - LML, right lateral lobe – RLL (Lobus hepatis dexter lateralis), right medial lobe – RML (Lobus hepatis dexter medialis), quadrate lobe - QL and caudate lobe - CL. The largest lobe of this specie was the left lateral lobe. In chinchilla liver showed four lobes like in the rat. In the rats the most developed hepatic ligament was the falciform ligament (Lig. Falciforme hepatis) which spans from xyphoid process of the sternum and diaphragm to the liver, beginning at the interlobular fissure. The coronary ligament (Lig. Coronarium hepatis) was well developed in all rats. Interlobular ligaments connect the left lateral lobe with the upper caudate lobe. In rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas the connection elements were represented by the falciform ligament, coronary ligament, right (Lig.triangulare dextrum) and left triangular ligaments (Lig. Triangulare sinistrum), hepatorenal ligament (Lig.hepatorenale) and hepatoduodenal ligament (Lig. hepatoduodenale) with varying degrees of development.
Based on detailed study of the macroscopic anatomy of rat, rabbit, guinea pig and chinchilla a proper experimental model in liver research, could be assessed. In this regard, the vascular anatomy of the liver in the mentioned species is of a great importance and it is subject of another report.


anatomy, experimental models, hepatic ligaments, liver lobes

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