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see urinary systemurinary system,
group of organs of the body concerned with excretion of urine, that is, water and the waste products of metabolism. In humans, the kidneys are two small organs situated near the vertebral column at the small of the back, the left lying somewhat higher than the
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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the basic structural and functional unit of the kidneys in vertebrate animals and man. A distinction is made between aglomerular and glomerular nephrons. Aglomerular nephrons are found in certain fishes and contain cells of a single type; glomerular nephrons, found in all other vertebrates and in man, contain the Malpighian bodies and Bowman’s capsules. The renal tubules extend from Bowman’s capsules.

The cells of glomerular nephrons are highly specialized to perform the functions required in the formation of urine—filtration, reabsorption, and secretion. In embryos the nephron also includes the nephrostomes, which are the ciliated infundibuli of the tubules. The nephrostomes open into the body cavity.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


The functional unit of a kidney, consisting of the glomerulus with its capsule and attached uriniferous tubule.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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The Substantial Loss of Nephrons in Healthy Human Kidneys with Aging.
In malnourished children there may be less number of functioning nephron as malnutrition has effects on various vital organs like kidney.
The development of the kidney is associated with an increase in the number of nephrons. The kidneys of infants with low birth weight are smaller due to the small number of glomeruli and nephrons (1).
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Additionally, we wanted to examine whether urine samples can be used to determine presence of NE damage to specific nephron structures.
Although most of renal epithelial tumors arise from the proximal nephron, a minority originate from the distal nephron.
The compensatory hypertrophy of glomeruli accompanying with the decreased density might explain the relationship between congenital low nephron numbers with postnatal hypertension and kidney disease.