Parts of the Nephron

The most actively working parts of the kidneys are tiny structures called nephrons. Each normal nephron, generally, works day and night to get rid of wastes in the blood. And each kidney has about 1 million tiny filtering units.Illustration of a kidney and an enlargement of the nephron.

Two major parts of the nephron are the renal corpuscle and the renal tubule. The corpuscle has the glomerulus (see illustration). Cleansing of the blood occurs in this part of the nephron.

The glomerulus, which is a tuft of very small blood vessels, has tiny holes that act as a filter. It allows water, wastes and small materials to pass through. Larger particles and substances including cells and proteins are not allowed to pass through this filter.

The filtered fluid including wastes and other substances then pass through a very small tube called the renal tubule. It is a continuous tube, which has four major parts: the proximal tubule, descending loop, ascending loop and the distal tubule.

Here, were just going to discuss the general function of the renal tubule as a whole.

At first, the renal tubules receive fluid, wastes and other chemical substances that the body can still use. Chemicals like sodium, phosphorus and potassium are somewhat being measured by the kidneys. When the body is lacking any of these chemicals, the tubules release them back to the blood to return to the body. By doing so, the kidneys play an important role in regulating these substances. The right balance of these chemicals is important for survival.

Damage to the nephrons can lead to kidney disease.

Related Topics:

The Kidneys and how they Work. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/yourkidneys/. Accessed June 8, 2010.

Page Last Revised: April 25, 2016

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