Difference Between Liver and Kidney

The major differences between liver and kidney include the following two properties:

  • First is the part of body function, which they relate to
  • Second is the location of these two organs
  • And, third is the number of these organs present in our body

The liver is the organ, which is the part of our digestive system whereas the kidney is the organ that is the part of our excretory system.

The location of both liver and kidney differs as one is located on the right portion of the abdominal cavity, just below the diaphragm and the other is located on the posterior side of the abdominal cavity, just behind the peritoneum.

Last is the number, in which liver is found as one in number and kidney is found as two in number.

Content: Liver Vs Kidney

  1. Comparison Chart
  2. Definition
  3. Difference in Anatomy
  4. Difference in Functions
  5. Key Differences Between Liver and Kidney
  6. Conclusion

Comparison Chart

DefinitionIt is the large glandular organ that is involved in the body metabolismIt is the bean shaped organ that is involved the excretion of wastes from the body
LocationPresent in the upper right portion of abdominal cavity and just below the diaphragmPresent in the posterior side of the abdominal cavity, just behind the peritoneum
PeritoneumIt is attached to the peritoneumIt lie behind the peritoneum
Type of body functionIt is the part of digestive system of our bodyIt is the part of excretory system of our body
NumberFound one in numberFound as one pair i.e. Two in number
StorageStores glycogen, fat, ions, vitamins etc.It does not perform the function of storage
Key functionMetabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, fats etc.Excretion of nitrogenous wastes like urea, ammonia etc.


Liver: It is the large, glandular and the second largest organ which is the essential part of our digestive system which plays a crucial role in providing energy or metabolism to or body.


Kidney: It is small and a bean-shaped organ which is the essential part of our excretory system that plays a crucial role in the filtering of waste nitrogenous products from our body through its function unit refers as nephron.


Difference in Anatomy

To know the more details about the structure and functions of both, let’s take an overview of their structure or anatomy:

Anatomy of Liver

The liver is made of numerous cells or functional unit of liver cells refers as “Lobules”. There are about 100,000 hexagonal lobules that form the structure of the liver.

The tissue which surrounds the liver is “Connective tissue”. In the structure of the liver, there is a long central vein which is present in the middle and terminally joins to the hepatic vein or interlobular vein. There are six hepatic arteries, portal veins and bile ducts which surrounds each lobule of the liver. Some capillary tube-like structure is also present in the structure of the liver, which extends from the central vein to the hepatic portal vein which refers as “Sinusoids”. Sinusoids are surrounded by the hepatocytes and kupffer cells.

Hepatocytes cells constitute the majority of the part of the liver and help in digestion, metabolism and storage whereas kupffer cells first capture the old or dead RBCs and break them down.

Anatomy of Kidney

The kidney is divided into four zones which are as follows:

anatomy of kidney

Renal corpuscle: It also refers as “Malpighian tubule”. The blood enters into the renal corpuscle after entering into the nephron. It comprises of glomerulus and Bowman capsule. Glomerulus absorbs the protein from the blood through the renal corpuscle and passes the remaining fluid to the Bowman capsule. Bowman capsule collects the remaining fluid after the absorption of protein and passes it to the renal tubules.

Renal tubules: It consists of a series of tubules which arises from the Bowman capsule and ends at the collecting ducts. It comprises of several parts which include proximal convoluted tubule, Henle’s loop and Distal convoluted loop. The proximal convoluted tubule is the tubules that help in the absorption of water, sodium back into the blood. Henle’s loop helps in the absorption of potassium, sodium, chloride ions etc. into the blood. Distal convoluted loop helps in the absorption of sodium into the blood and take in potassium and acids.

Renal cortex: It is surrounded by a layer of fatty tissue refers as a renal capsule. It helps in the protection of internal structures of the kidney and is composed of a glomerulus and convoluted tubules.

Renal medulla: It is the inner tissue of a kidney which is generally smooth and contains a renal pyramid as well as a loop of Henle. Renal pyramids contain strings of nephrons which acts as a functional unit of the kidney which transfers fluid into the kidney which then passes over by the nephron to the collecting ducts. Collecting ducts is the area of exit for the filtered fluid which ends to the renal pelvis.

Difference in Functions

Liver and kidney are the two organs which perform two different functions in our body.

Functions of the liver

  • It purifies the blood from the digestive tract.
  • Detoxifies chemicals into harmless substances. For example; detoxification of ammonia to urea.
  • The liver makes proteins for the blood clotting with the help of vitamin-K.
  • It stores glycogen as a source of carbohydrate when a body needs energy then the liver breaks down the glycogen into glucose and releases it into the bloodstream.
  • The liver plays an important role in the digestion of fats through breakdown and adsorption by secreting bile which is a digestive juice
  • It also plays a crucial role in the metabolism of carbohydrate, fats, lipids etc.
  • The liver also functions as the storage organ which stores glycogen, ions, vitamins etc.

Functions of the Kidney

  • The kidney plays an important role in excretion of wastes by the functional unit “Nephron”.
  • It also helps in the reabsorption of vital nutrients.
  • Maintains the homeostasis or balance of water, electrolytes, acid-base and blood pressure.
  • It is also involved in osmolality regulation.
  • Kidney secretes hormones namely Calcitriol (Increase the absorption of calcium) and erythropoietin (Increase the production of RBCs).

Key Differences Between Liver and Kidney

  1. The liver is attached to the peritoneum whereas kidney lies behind the peritoneum.
  2. The liver is a part of the digestive system whereas the kidney is a part of the excretory system.
  3. One pair of kidney and one liver is found in our body.
  4. The liver helps in the metabolism of carbohydrate, proteins, fats etc. whereas kidney helps in the excretion of nitrogenous wastes.
  5. Glycogen, ions, vitamins etc. are stored in the liver whereas the kidney does not perform any storage functions.


Therefore, we can conclude that both the liver and kidney are the two essential part of our body. Without, liver our digestive system is incomplete and without a kidney, our excretory system is incomplete.

It is very obvious that in the absence of any of the organ or cell, the other parts of our body will not function properly i.e the work is divided among all the organs in our body and if one is not working properly, then the others will equally get affected. therefore, both liver and kidney are the core of the digestive and the excretory system.

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