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Anatomy Atlases: Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 1 - Cells Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 12 - Urinary System

Plate 12.237 Kidney: Cortex

Ronald A. Bergman, Ph.D., Adel K. Afifi, M.D., Paul M. Heidger, Jr., Ph.D.
Peer Review Status: Externally Peer Reviewed


Plate 12.237 Kidney: Cortex

Rhesus monkey, Zenker's fluid, Mallory's stain, 612 x.


Afferent arteriole: Seen here in cross section. Its proximity to the glomerulus (not seen here), which it serves, is indicated by the presence of cells containing conspicuous granules, which replace smooth muscle fibers normally found in the wall of arterioles.

Juxtaglomerular cells: Rich in cytoplasmic granules containing renin. Renin secreted into the blood is known to play a role in the formation of a hypertensive substance known as angiotensin II.

Glomerulus: Tuft of capillaries having their origin from the afferent arteriole and surrounded by Bowman's capsule. The glomerulus, together with Bowman's capsule, constitutes the renal corpuscle.

Proximal convoluted tubule: Outlet of Bowman's capsule approximately 14 mm long with many small loops near the renal corpuscle. It ultimately straightens and runs toward the medulla in the medullary rays.

Distal convoluted tubule: This portion of the renal tubule has many short loops in close association with the proximal convoluted tubule and the glomerulus. It is about one third the length of the proximal tubule. The distal tubule is continuous with the collecting tubules.

Macula densa: Specialized region of the distal convoluted tubule with tightly packed tubule cells in contact with the afferent arteriole. The bases of the cells of the macula densa are consistently found in intimate association with the juxtaglomerular cells in the wall of the afferent arteriole. Because this structural relationship suggests a functional relationship (supported experimentally), the macula densa and the juxtaglomerular cells together are referred to as the juxtaglomerular apparatus.

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