MCAT Content / Excretory System / Kidney Structure

Kidney structure

Topic: Excretory System

The kidney is formed of three regions that are the outer cortex, inner medulla, and a renal pelvis.

The cortex is the outer region of the kidney, and it contains the convoluted tubules of the nephrons. The medulla is the inner region of the kidney that contains the renal pyramid. In these pyramids, the loop of Henle of the nephrons is present. The renal pelvis is the site of entry and exit of the renal vein and renal artery. These structures allow the kidney to play an important role in balancing the pH of the blood, osmoregulation and blood pressure control. 

 

Practice Questions

 

Khan Academy   

 

MCAT Official Prep (AAMC)

Biology Question Pack, Vol 2. Question 19


 

Key Points

• The three regions of the kidney are the outer cortex, inner medulla, and renal pelvis.

• The cortex contains convoluted tubules of nephrons, medulla contains the loop of Henle of nephrons, and the renal pelvis is the site of entry and exit of renal vein and capillaries.

• The kidney plays an important role in balancing the pH of the blood, osmoregulation and blood pressure control. 

 


Key Terms

Renal: of the kidneys

Nephron: structural and functional unit of the kidney

Cortex: the outer region of the kidney and it contains the convoluted tubules of the nephrons

Medulla: the inner part of the kidney that contains the renal pyramid

Loop of Henle: structure in the kidneys involved in the recovery of water and sodium chloride from the urine



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