- The liver is a complex organ with a unique microcirculation and both synthetic and immune functions. Innate immune responses have been studied in response to single inflammatory mediators and several clinically relevant models of infection and injury. While standard histological techniques have been used in many models, the liver microcirculation is also amenable to in vivo examination using epifluorescent, confocal and transillumination intravital microscopy. These techniques have begun to clarify not only the molecular mechanisms but also the specific cell populations involved in the liver inflammation. In this review, we discuss the cells and mediators involved in hepatic innate immunity in simple and complex models of injury and infection, and present the view that the liver microcirculation utilizes non-classical pathways for leukocyte recruitment.