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Anatomy and Physiology

The kidneys are the primary organs of the urinary system in vertebrates. The kidneys filter the blood, remove the wastes, and excrete the wastes in the form of urine. About 1,300 milliliters of blood flow through the kidneys each minute (about 400 gallons a day). Only about 1.5liters are left in the tubules to carry away the waste products. The whole blood supply passes through the kidneys every 5 minutes, ensuring that waste materials don't build up. The renal artery carries blood to the kidney, while the renal vein carries blood, now with much lower concentrations of urea and mineral ions, away from the kidney. The urine formed passes down the ureter to the bladder. The work of the kidneys is much more than just the removal of waste, however. Other functions of the kidneys include:

Helping regulate the pH(i.e., level of acidity or alkalinity) of the blood and the general balance of ions in the blood, and hence in the body fluid as a whole. Conserving essential substances such as glucose and amino acids. Electrolyte balance-ions such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, bicarbonate and phosphates are regulated by the amount that kidney excretes. Plasma volume- the kidneys control plasma volume by controlling how much water a person excretes .The plasma volume has a direct effect on the total blood volume. Excretion- kidneys are responsible in excreting nitrogenous wastes.

Parts and Function:

R e n a l V e i n - this has a large diameter and a thin wall. It carries blood away from the kidney and back to the right side of the heart. Blood in the kidney has had all its urea removed. Urea is produced by your liver to get rid of excess amino-acids. Blood in the renal vein also has exactly the right amount of water and salts. This is because the kidney gets rid of excess water and salts. The kidney is controlled by the brain. A hormone in our blood called Anti-Diuretic Hormone (ADH for short) is used to control exactly how much water is excreted.

Renal Artery -this blood vessel supplies blood to the kidney from the left hand side of the heart. This blood must contain glucose and oxygen because the kidney has to work hard producing urine. Blood in the renal artery must have sufficient to pressure or the kidney will not be able to filter the blood. Blood supplied to the kidney contains a toxic product called urea which must be removed from the blood. It may have too much salt and too much water. The kidney removes these excess materials; that is its function.

U r e t e r bladder or cloaca.

a duct that carries away the urine from a kidney to the

Medulla - the medulla is the inside part of the kidney. This is where the amount of salt and water in your urine is controlled. It consists of billions of loops of Henl. These work very hard pumping sodium ions. ADH makes the loops work harder to pump more sodium ions. The result of this is that very concentrated urine is produced.

C o r t e x - the cortex is the outer part of the kidney. This is where blood is filtered. The process is called "ultra-filtration" or" high pressure filtration" because it only works if the blood entering the kidney in the renal artery is at high pressure. Billions of glomeruli are found in the cortex. A glomerulus is a tiny ball of capillaries. Each glomerulus is surrounded by a "Bowman's Capsule".

Glomerulus a tiny ball-shaped structure composed of capillary blood vessels actively involved in the filtration of the blood to form urine.

Nephron - the functional unit of the kidney, consisting of the renal corpuscle, the proximal and distal convoluted tubules, and the nephronic loop. P r o x i m a l C o n v o l u t e d T u b u l e s - is the site where majority (65%) of ions and water in the urinary space is reabsorbed back into the body. The cells of the proximal convoluted tubule have a deeply stained, eosinophilic cytoplasm. The cells are large so that in cross section not every nucleus will be visible, making it appear that the proximal convoluted tubule has fewer nuclei than other tubules. The cells also have an apical brush border to increase their surface area. Loop of Henlethe part of a nephron between the proximal and distal convolutedtubules that e xtends, in a loop, from the cortex into the medulla ofthe kidney.