Dictionary > Nephron


noun, plural: nephrons
The structural and functional unit of the kidney, i.e. a structure comprised of a set of tubules and its chief functions are blood filtration, osmoregulation, and waste elimination by urine formation
The nephron is regarded as the structural and functional unit of the kidney. It is a tubular structure comprised of the renal corpuscle and renal tubule. These tubules are closely associated with a network of blood vessels.
The renal corpuscle (also known as Malpighian corpuscle) consists of the following parts:

  • Glomerulus
  • Bowman’s capsule (also called glomerular capsule)

The renal tubule is comprised of the following parts:

  • Proximal convoluted tubule
  • Loope of Henle (i.e. descending and ascending limb of loop of Henle)
  • Distal convoluted tubule
  • The main function of nephron is to filter waste products from the blood. The waste products are removed in the form of urine. This function of the nephron is important in osmoregulation. The nephrons regulate the level of water and soluble substances (e.g. sodium salts). They reabsorb what remains essential and then eliminate wastes. Thus, they are associated with the regulation of blood volume, blood pressure, electrolyte and metabolite levels, blood pH, etc.
    See also:

    Related term(s):

  • nephrology
  • Nephrosis

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