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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Explain how the kidneys serve as the main osmoregulatory organs in mammalian systems
  • Describe the structure of the kidneys and the functions of the parts of the kidney
  • Describe how the nephron is the functional unit of the kidney and explain how it actively filters blood and generates urine
  • Detail the three steps in the formation of urine: glomerular filtration, tubular reabsorption, and tubular secretion

Although the kidneys are the major osmoregulatory organ, the skin and lungs also play a role in the process. Water and electrolytes are lost through sweat glands in the skin, which helps moisturize and cool the skin surface, while the lungs expel a small amount of water in the form of mucous secretions and via evaporation of water vapor.

Kidneys: the main osmoregulatory organ

The kidneys , illustrated in [link] , are a pair of bean-shaped structures that are located just below and posterior to the liver in the peritoneal cavity. The adrenal glands sit on top of each kidney and are also called the suprarenal glands. Kidneys filter blood and purify it. All the blood in the human body is filtered many times a day by the kidneys; these organs use up almost 25 percent of the oxygen absorbed through the lungs to perform this function. Oxygen allows the kidney cells to efficiently manufacture chemical energy in the form of ATP through aerobic respiration. The filtrate coming out of the kidneys is called urine    .

Illustration shows the placement of the kidneys and bladder in a human man. The two kidneys face one another and are located on the posterior side, about halfway up the back. A renal artery and a renal vein extend from the inside middle of each kidney, toward a major blood vessel that runs up the middle of the body. A ureter runs down from each kidney to the bladder, a sac that sits just above the pelvis. The urethra runs down from the bottom of the bladder and through the penis. The adrenal glands are lumpy masses that sit on top of the kidneys.
Kidneys filter the blood, producing urine that is stored in the bladder prior to elimination through the urethra. (credit: modification of work by NCI)

Kidney structure

Externally, the kidneys are surrounded by three layers, illustrated in [link] . The outermost layer is a tough connective tissue layer called the renal fascia    . The second layer is called the perirenal fat capsule    , which helps anchor the kidneys in place. The third and innermost layer is the renal capsule    . Internally, the kidney has three regions—an outer cortex    , a medulla    in the middle, and the renal pelvis    in the region called the hilum    of the kidney. The hilum is the concave part of the bean-shape where blood vessels and nerves enter and exit the kidney; it is also the point of exit for the ureters. The renal cortex is granular due to the presence of nephrons —the functional unit of the kidney. The medulla consists of multiple pyramidal tissue masses, called the renal pyramids . In between the pyramids are spaces called renal columns through which the blood vessels pass. The tips of the pyramids, called renal papillae, point toward the renal pelvis. There are, on average, eight renal pyramids in each kidney. The renal pyramids along with the adjoining cortical region are called the lobes of the kidney    . The renal pelvis leads to the ureter    on the outside of the kidney. On the inside of the kidney, the renal pelvis branches out into two or three extensions called the major calyces , which further branch into the minor calyces. The ureters are urine-bearing tubes that exit the kidney and empty into the urinary bladder    .

Questions & Answers

Is the "growth and maintenance phase" in a cell's life cycle when cell division is about to occur
Somto Reply
what is the common name of Basidiomycetes
Ogechukwu Reply
الاجزاء النباتية لابد من تعقيمها قبل زراعتها في القوارير
yes
tariq
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tariq
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what are bio elements
Shahzad Reply
which are present In Body And such elements Have Great role in our Body there are 16 bio elements that maintains human Body but on The basis of amount There are 6 bio elements present in Concen. of 99% and More Valuable And Highly Concen. element is Oxygent with 65 %
Haider
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how je pollution brouhgt about
Lamina
non is pollution brouhgt about
Lamina
describe the anatomy of cell division
Ivanovic Reply
Complex traits such as height result from 
Ruben Reply
what is the difference between chloroplasts and mitochondria
Nkalubo Reply
chloroplast in plants and bacterial cell ; mitochondria in animal cells
aung
Diagram of a living cell
Eliza Reply
what is cell
Sule
A cell is the smallest basic unit of life.
John
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Ogochukwu Reply
this is da study of living and non-living thing in an eco-system
Nutty
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Akufia
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Winner
why do plants store carbohydrates in form of starch and not glucose?
Nutty Reply
Describe the structure of starch?
Nutty
wat is diffusion
Winner
water is life!.. Discuss?
Nutty Reply
why do plants store carbohydrates in form if starch not glucose!
Nutty
study of living thing
Dennis Reply
what is beyond a liveing cell
Raymond
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d study of living nd non living thing
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The surgical removal of d spermduct
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Source:  OpenStax, Biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11448/1.10
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