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Explain the process of ultrafiltration
- Microscopically, the kidney is composed of over one million nephrons.
- Each nephron is made up of several parts. The blind end of the nephron is pushed in on itself to form a cup-like structure called Bowman’s capsule.
- Blood from the renal artery flows through an afferent arteriole, into the glomerulus, a capillary bed that is situated inside the Bowman’s capsule.
- The blood in the glomerulus is under pressure and the capillary walls are fenestrated (perforated) to allow blood plasma through.
- The basement membrane of the Bowman’s capsule has an irregular network of slits, so that much of the fluid from the blood filters into the capsule, leaving behind large proteins and whole cells, which are too big to pass through.
- Thus, the basement membrane acts as the dialysis membrane where ultrafiltration occurs.
- From the Bowman’s capsule, the glomerular filtrate passes into the proximal convoluted tubule.
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