Nephron Structure and Function Physiology | Filtration, Reabsorption, Secretion NCLEX Review

Nephron structure and function physiology review lecture for NCLEX. The nephron’s function/physiology is to perform filtration, reabsorption, and secretion.

Nephron anatomy includes the following: Glomerulus and Bowman’s capsule, proximal convoluted tubule, loop of Henle, distal convoluted tubule, and collecting duct/tubule.

Each kidney contains millions of nephrons which work to filter the blood and create filtrate. The nephron can be divided into two sections based on its function. The first section of the nephron performs filtration which is known as the renal corpuscle. The renal corpuscle is the glomerulus and Bowman’s Capsule.

The second section of the nephron is the renal tubule and it is responsible for reabsorption and secretion. This includes the proximal convoluted tubule, loop of henle, distal convoluted tubule, and collecting tubule.

To filter the blood the glomerulus receives fresh blood from the afferent arteriole which enters the glomerulus and filtrate is created. The blood then exits the glomerulus through the efferent arteriole which will turn into peritubular capillaries and eventually turn into the renal vein.

Filtrate is a liquid substance created by the glomerulus. The glomerulus filters out water, glucose, amino acids, urea, creatinine, ions, etc. The glomerulus does NOT filter proteins or blood cells.

The filtrate created by the glomerulus leaks down into a capsule called Bowman’s capsule. Then it flows to the first part of the nephron that is responsible for reabsoprtion and secretion know as proximal convoluted tubule.

The proximal convoluted tubule is where most of the reabsorption occurs. Nearly 100% of glucose and amino acids are reabsorbed along with 90% of bicarbonate and 60-70% of sodium and chloride along with water and urea.

The filtrate then flows down into the loop of Henle. This area is responsible for concentrating the urine by reabsorbing most of the water in the filtrate. The loop of Henle achieves this with the help of the hypertonic environment of the renal medulla.

Then the filtrate enters into the distal convoluted tubule where more reabsorption and secretion occurs. Aldosterone will play a role in sodium reabsorption to maintain water and salt balance in the body. In addition, parathyroid hormone (PTH) will play a role in calcium reabsorption.

Lastly, the filtrate flows into the collecting/duct for the “final touches” of reabsorption and secretion. Then the filtrate will exit the kidneys as urine via the renal papilla, minor/major calyx, renal pelvis, ureters, bladder, and urethra.

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The nephron is the functional unit of the kidney responsible for filtering blood, regulating electrolytes, and maintaining acid-base balance in the body. It is a complex structure consisting of the glomerulus, proximal tubule, loop of Henle, distal tubule, and collecting duct.

The glomerulus is the site of blood filtration, where water, electrolytes, and waste products are removed from the blood and enter the tubules. From there, the proximal tubule reabsorbs valuable substances such as glucose, amino acids, and electrolytes, while waste products such as urea and creatinine remain in the tubules to be excreted in the urine.

The loop of Henle plays a crucial role in regulating water and electrolyte balance in the body. It sets up an osmotic gradient, allowing for water reabsorption in the descending limb and electrolyte reabsorption in the ascending limb.

The distal tubule and collecting duct are responsible for fine-tuning electrolyte and acid-base balance in the body. They secrete and reabsorb ions such as sodium, potassium, hydrogen, and bicarbonate, depending on the body’s needs.

Understanding the structure and function of the nephron is essential for nursing students preparing for the NCLEX exam. It is important to know the mechanisms of filtration, reabsorption, and secretion, as well as the different factors that can affect kidney function, such as blood pressure, medications, and diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. A comprehensive understanding of nephron physiology is crucial for providing safe and effective patient care.


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