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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Describe the external structure of the kidney, including its location, support structures, and covering
  • Identify the major internal divisions and structures of the kidney
  • Identify the major blood vessels associated with the kidney and trace the path of blood through the kidney
  • Compare and contrast the cortical and juxtamedullary nephrons
  • Name structures found in the cortex and medulla
  • Describe the physiological characteristics of the cortex and medulla

The kidneys lie on either side of the spine in the retroperitoneal space between the parietal peritoneum and the posterior abdominal wall, well protected by muscle, fat, and ribs. They are roughly the size of your fist, and the male kidney is typically a bit larger than the female kidney. The kidneys are well vascularized, receiving about 25 percent of the cardiac output at rest.

There have never been sufficient kidney donations to provide a kidney to each person needing one. Watch this video to learn about the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Conference held in March 2011. In this video, Dr. Anthony Atala discusses a cutting-edge technique in which a new kidney is “printed.” The successful utilization of this technology is still several years in the future, but imagine a time when you can print a replacement organ or tissue on demand.

External anatomy

The left kidney is located at about the T12 to L3 vertebrae, whereas the right is lower due to slight displacement by the liver. Upper portions of the kidneys are somewhat protected by the eleventh and twelfth ribs ( [link] ). Each kidney weighs about 125–175 g in males and 115–155 g in females. They are about 11–14 cm in length, 6 cm wide, and 4 cm thick, and are directly covered by a fibrous capsule composed of dense, irregular connective tissue that helps to hold their shape and protect them. This capsule is covered by a shock-absorbing layer of adipose tissue called the renal fat pad    , which in turn is encompassed by a tough renal fascia. The fascia and, to a lesser extent, the overlying peritoneum serve to firmly anchor the kidneys to the posterior abdominal wall in a retroperitoneal position.

Kidneys

This image shows a human torso and shows the location of the kidneys within the torso.
The kidneys are slightly protected by the ribs and are surrounded by fat for protection (not shown).

On the superior aspect of each kidney is the adrenal gland. The adrenal cortex directly influences renal function through the production of the hormone aldosterone to stimulate sodium reabsorption.

Internal anatomy

A frontal section through the kidney reveals an outer region called the renal cortex    and an inner region called the medulla    ( [link] ). The renal columns    are connective tissue extensions that radiate downward from the cortex through the medulla to separate the most characteristic features of the medulla, the renal pyramids    and renal papillae    . The papillae are bundles of collecting ducts that transport urine made by nephrons to the calyces    of the kidney for excretion. The renal columns also serve to divide the kidney into 6–8 lobes and provide a supportive framework for vessels that enter and exit the cortex. The pyramids and renal columns taken together constitute the kidney lobes.

Questions & Answers

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oesophagus also known as food pip
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Sign of anaemia or whitish color or Hgb luck
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Lubega Reply
glucocorticoids mineralocorticoid and catecholamines
Kartik
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Jackson Reply
polar unequal share of electron while non polar is equal share
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Bocz of unpaired elections
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because of unpaired electrons
ABDULLAH
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Amphipathic molecules are molecules with both polar and non polar regions
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Sidra
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what are the smooth muscles of the heart
Sintung Reply
stomach
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saba Reply
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O-olfactory O-optic O-occumulator T-trochlear T-trigemenal A-abducent F-facial A-auditory G-glossopharyngeal V-vagus A-acessory
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Read KD Tripathi book of Pharmacology.
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CT Scan means
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CT means - computerized tomography
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connective tissue
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they link some body organs
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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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