The spleen (from Greek σπλήν—splēn) is an organ found in virtually all vertebrate animals. Similar in structure to a large lymph node, the spleen acts primarily as a blood filter. As such, it is a non-vital organ, with a healthy life possible after removal. The spleen plays important roles in regard to red blood cells (also referred to as erythrocytes) and the immune system. In humans, it is located in the left upper quadrant of the abdomen. It removes old red blood cells and holds a reserve of blood in case of hemorrhagic shock while also recycling iron. As a part of the mononuclear phagocyte system, it metabolizes hemoglobin removed from senescent erythrocytes. The globin portion of hemoglobin is degraded to its constitutive amino acids, and the heme portion is metabolized to bilirubin, which is subsequently shuttled to the liver for removal. It synthesizes antibodies in its white pulp and removes antibody-coated bacteria along with antibody-coated blood cells by way of blood and lymph node circulation. The spleen is brownish. A study published in 2009 using mice showed it has been found to contain in its reserve half of the body’s monocytes within the red pulp. These monocytes, upon moving to injured tissue (such as the heart), turn into dendritic cells and macrophages while promoting tissue healing. It is one of the centers of activity of the reticuloendothelial system and can be considered analogous to a large lymph node, as its absence leads to a predisposition toward certain infections.