Nephron physiology



Kidney explanatory video


The cortex contains mainly glomeruli with the associated Bowmanís capsule-forming the Malpighian (renal) corpuscles, medullary rays which are light-colored, seen with the aid of the hand lens; convoluted parts which alternate with medullary rays and are darker in color, most of the renal tubules; interlobular and arcuate arteries which gives rise to them with the corresponding veins.


The medulla contains the pyramids.  The pyramids (about 6 in number) have bases which face the juxtamedullary regions and apex (known as the papilla) which point to the renal pelvis.  The ducts of Bellini open into their apices from which urine manufactured in the cortex and then transported into the minor calyces which the apices of the pyramids project into.  There are between 6-7 minor calyces which run into a single major calyx that enter into the pelvis of the kidney from which it communicates with the pelvis of the ureter and then the ureter proper.


The tubules sometimes referred to as uriniferous tubules and which constitute the main histological feature of the kidney may be divided into

1. nephron

2. renal tubule


The renal corpuscle are found in the cortex (few near medulla as juxtamedullary corpuscles) and are made up of glomerulus and Bowmanís capsule.

The glomerulus of the kidney is the network of arterioles which form the filtration apparatus for the sieving of urine from blood.  They are placed inside a capsule called the Bowmanís capsule.

Renal tubule

This consist of the following parts

  1. Glomerular (Bowmanís) capsule

  2. Proximal convoluted tubule

  3. Descending limb of the loop of Henle

  4. Loop of Henle

  5. Ascending limb of loop of Henle

  6. Distal convoluted tubule

  7. Junctional tubule

  8. Collecting (straight) tubule

Strictly speaking, a nephron consists of glomerulus, glomerular capsule proximal and distal convoluted tubules, and loop of Henle.

Cells of kidney


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Creator: Oluwole Ogunranti


Kidney microscope       Double click for full screen



A cortical lobule extends from one nephron to adjacent nephron










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