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Nephron Histology

The glomerulus (or renal corpuscle) in humans is the round (~0.2 mm in diameter) blind beginning of the nephron. It is invaginated by a tuft of capillaries at the vascular pole of the glomerulus. The tuft of capillaries and other cells in contact with them form the anatomical glomerulus. Substances which leave the capillaries enter the renal tubule at the urinary pole of the glomerulus.

The anatomical glomerulus is enclosed by two layers of epithelium, Bowman's capsule.

  1. Cells of the outer or parietal layer of Bowman's capsule form a simple squamous epithelium.
  2. Cells of the inner layer, podocytes in the visceral layer, are extremely complex in shape. Small foot-like processes, pedicles, of their cytoplasm form a fenestrated epithelium around the fenestrated capillaries of the glomerulus. The openings between the pedicles are called filtration slits. They are spanned by a thin membrane, the filtration slit membrane. Between the podocytes and the endothelial cells of the capillaries we find a comparatively thick basal lamina, which can be subdivided into an outer lamina rara externa, a middle lamina densa and an inner lamina rara interna. The basal lamina and the slit membranes form the glomerular filtration barrier, which prevents some large molecules from entering the capsular space between the outer and inner epithelial layers of Bowman's capsule.
  • Mesangial cells in the glomerulus form the connective tissue that gives structural support to podocytes and vessels.
  • Blood pressure is the driving force in the formation of about 125 ml of glomerular filtrate per minute.
  • About 124 ml of the glomerular filtrate is reabsorbed in the tubules of the nephron.


Renal System Histology: Nephron tubule overview | glomerulus structure | vascular and renal poles | Medullary rays | Nephron tubules
Large Images: medullary rays | glomerulus | distal tubule and collecting duct | proximal and distal tubule | distal and intermediate tubule | medullary ray | glomerulus | proximal tubule | Renal System Development


Original File name: Kidney0222he.jpg

Image and text source: UWA Blue Histology



Links: Histology | Histology Stains | Blue Histology images copyright Lutz Slomianka 1998-2009. The literary and artistic works on the original Blue Histology website may be reproduced, adapted, published and distributed for non-commercial purposes. See also the page Histology Stains.


Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2019, December 10) Embryology Nephron histology 02.jpg. Retrieved from https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/File:Nephron_histology_02.jpg

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© Dr Mark Hill 2019, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G

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