Anatomy of the Kidneys
Understanding how the urinary system helps maintainhomeostasis by removing harmful substances from the bloodand regulating water balance in the body is an important partof physiology. Your kidneys, which are the main part of theurinary system, are made up of millions of nephrons that act asindividual filtering units and are complex structuresthemselves. The ureters, urethra, and urinary bladder completethis intricate system.The urinary system helps maintain homeostasis by regulatingwater balance and by removing harmful substances from theblood. The blood is filtered by two kidneys, which produceurine, a fluid containing toxic substances and waste products.From each kidney, the urine flows through a tube, the ureter,to the urinary bladder, where it is stored until it is expelledfrom the body through another tube, the urethra.The kidneys are surrounded by three layers of tissue:
The renal fascia is a thin, outer layer of fibrousconnective tissue that surrounds each kidney (and theattached adrenal gland) and fastens it to surroundingstructures.
The adipose capsule is a middle layer of adipose (fat)tissue that cushions the kidneys.
The renal capsule is an inner fibrous membrane thatprevents the entrance of infections.Inside the kidney, three major regions are distinguished, asshown in Figure 1 .