The kidneys are bean-shaped organs that serve several essential regulatory roles in vertebrates. Their main function is to regulate the balance of electrolytes in the blood, along with maintaining pH homeostasis.
Located at the rear of the abdominal cavity in the retroperitoneal space, the kidneys receive blood from the paired renal arteries, and drain into the paired renal veins. Each kidney excretes urine into a ureter which empties into the bladder.
The kidney has a bean-shaped structure having a convex and a concave border. It consist of:
1. Renal pyramid • 2. Interlobular artery • 3. Renal artery • 4. Renal vein 5. Renal hilum • 6. Renal pelvis • 7. Ureter • 8. Minor calyx • 9. Renal capsule • 10. Inferior renal capsule • 11. Superior renal capsule • 12. Interlobular vein • 13. Nephron • 14. Minor calyx • 15. Major calyx • 16. Renal papilla • 17. Renal column
The renal circulation supplies the blood to the kidneys via the renal arteries, left and right, which branch directly from the abdominal aorta.
The kidney participates in whole-body homeostasis, regulating acid-base balance, electrolyte concentrations, extracellular fluid volume, and blood pressure. The kidney accomplishes these homeostatic functions both independently and in concert with other organs, particularly those of the endocrine system. Various endocrine hormones coordinate these endocrine functions; these include renin, angiotensin II, aldosterone, antidiuretic hormone, and atrial natriuretic peptide, among others.
Many of the kidney’s functions are accomplished by relatively simple mechanisms of filtration, reabsorption, and secretion, which take place in the nephron. Filtration, which takes place at the renal corpuscle, is the process by which cells and large proteins are filtered from the blood to make an ultrafiltrate that eventually becomes urine. The kidney generates 180 liters of filtrate a day, while reabsorbing a large percentage, allowing for the generation of only approximately 2 liters of urine. Reabsorption is the transport of molecules from this ultrafiltrate and into the blood. Secretion is the reverse process, in which molecules are transported in the opposite direction, from the blood into the urine.