Wed September 19, 2012 By: Megha Merin

explain the structure and function of nephron.

Expert Reply
Thu September 20, 2012

Nephrons are the basic structural and functional units of the kidney. They consist of a network of tubules and canals specialized in filtration.

The nephron is a long tube that runs from the cortex into the medulla and back again to the cortex before joining another tube called the collecting duct.

There are two main parts of a nephron: the renal corpuscle and renal tubule.

Renal Corpuscle Structure

The renal corpuscle is the initial filtering component of the nephron and is made up of two structures known as the glomerulus and Bowman’s capsule. The Bowman’s capsule is a cup-like double membranous structure that contains the glomerulus. A branch of the renal artery, the afferent arteriole, enters the small cup-like space of the Bowman’s capsule as a network of blood capillaries. This network is known as the glomerulus.  The glomerular filtration rate is a measure of kidney function.


Renal Tubule Structure

Renal tubules are a duct system beginning at the Bowmen’s capsule in the cortex, looping through the renal medulla, and returning to the cortex to connect to the collecting duct system. Each renal tubule is divided into a proximal convoluted tubule, loop of Henle, and distal convoluted tubule.

These tubules drain into the collecting duct. Several convoluted tubules drain into each collecting duct. The collecting ducts empty into the renal pelvis. From the renal pelvis the excretory product, urine, drains into the ureter. The ureter from each kidney empties into the bladder, and urine leaves the body via the urethra.

 Emerging from the glomerulus, the capillaries re-unite to form a small arteriole, known as the efferent arteriole. The efferent arteriole is smaller than the afferent arteriole. This difference in diameter helps to raise the glomerular pressure and aids in ultra filtration. 

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