There are two parts of a kidney nephron: the renal
and the renal tubule.
(1) Renal Corpuscle
The renal corpuscle is the part of the kidney nephron in which blood
plasma is filtered.
term "corpuscle" means "tiny" or "small" body.
The renal corpuscle of each kidney nephron has two
parts - they are
which is a network of small blood vessels called capillaries,
and the Bowman's Capsule (also
known as the Glomerular
Capsule), which is the double-walled
epithelial cup within which the glomerulus is contained.
Within the glomerulus are glomerular
capillaries that are
located between the afferent
arteriole bringing blood into
the glomerulus and the efferent
arteriole draining blood away from
the glomerulus. The (outgoing) efferent arteriole has
a smaller diameter than the (incoming) afferent arteriole.
This difference in arteriole diameters helps
to raise the blood pressure in the glomerulus.
The area between the double-walls
of the Bowman's Capsule is called the capsular
The cells that form the outer edges of the glomerulus
form close attachments to the cells of the inner surface of
the Bowman's Capsule. This combination of cells adhered
to each other forms a filtration
membrane that enables
water and solutes (substances that are dissolved
to pass through the first wall of the Bowman's Capsule
into the capsular space. This filtration process
by the raised
- due to the difference in diameter of the afferent
and efferent arterioles.
So to summarise:
In the renal corpuscle blood is forced
through the glomerular capillaries at higher pressure than
generally travels around the body (and also into the
kidney itself). Helped by the increased pressure in the
glomerular capillaries, a filtration process occurs in
which some blood fluid is forced out of the glomerulus
and into the capsular space of the Bowman's Capsule.
The fluid that is filtered into the Bowman's Capsule is
called the glomerular filtrate.
here to read more about Glomerular Filtration.
(2) Renal Tubule
The renal tubule is
the part of the kidney nephron into which the glomerular
filtrate passes after it has reached
the Bowman's capsule. The first part of the renal tubule
is called the proximal convoluted
tubule (PCT), which is
shown on the right-hand side of the diagram above.
The water and solutes that have passed through the proximal
convoluted tubule (PCT) enter the Loop
of Henle, which consists of two portions
- first the descending limb
of Henle, then the ascending
limb of Henle. In order to pass through
the Loop of Henle, the water (and substances dissolved
in it) pass from the renal cortex into the renal medulla,
then back to the renal cortex. When this fluid returns
to the renal cortex (via the ascending limb of Henle) it
passes into the distal convoluted
tubule (DCT), which
is shown on the left-hand side of the diagram above.
The distal convoluted tubules of many individual kidney
nephrons converge onto a single collecting
duct. The fluid that has passed
through the distal convoluted tubules is drained
into the collecting duct (far left-hand-side
of the diagram above). Many collecting ducts
join together to form several hundred papillary
ducts. There are typically about
30 papillary ducts per renal
papilla (the renal papillae
being the tips of the renal pyramids - which
point towards the centre of the kidney). At
each renal papilla the contents of the papillary
ducts drain into the minor
calces - the channels through
which the fluid passes, via the major
calyx, into the centre of the
kidney - called the renal
about the three processes by the kidneys regulate
the composition and volume of blood.