Describe the structure of a nephron.
A nephron is the functional unit of the kidney.
Each nephron compreises of two parts – the glomerulus and the renal tubule.
The different parts of a nephrons are :
Glomerulus - is a tuft of capillaries formed by the afferent arteriole – a fine branch of renal
artery. Blood from the glomerulus is carried
away by an efferent arteriole.
Renal tubule - The renal tubule begins with a double walled cup-like structure called Bowman’s capsule, which encloses the glomerulus.
Malphigian body - The Glomerulus alongwith Bowman’s capsule, is called the malpighian body or renal corpuscle.
PCT - The tubule continues further to form a highly coiled network – proximal convoluted tubule
Loop Of Henle - A hairpin shaped Henle’s loop forms the next part of the tubule which has a
descending and an ascending limb.
DCT - The ascending limb continues as another highly coiled tubular region called distal
convoluted tubule (DCT).
Collecting Duct - The DCTs of many nephrons open into a straight tube called collecting duct, many of which converge and open into the renal pelvis through medullary pyramids in the calyces.
The Malpighian corpuscle, PCT and DCT
of the nephron are situated in the cortical
region of the kidney whereas the loop of Henle
dips into the medulla.
Peritubular capillaries - The efferent arteriole emerging from the glomerulus forms a fine
capillary network around the renal tubule called the peritubular capillaries.
Vasa recta - A minute vessel of this network runs parallel to the Henle’s loop forming a ‘U’ shaped vasa recta.