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Kidney Blood Supply

(Sample Lesson)

Large Arteries

Blood enters the kidney from the descending aorta via the renal artery. In the renal hilum, the renal artery divides into segmental arteries, followed by further branching to form the interlobar arteries, which pass through the renal columns. At the bases of the renal pyramids, the arcuate arteries branch from the interlobar arteries and enter the renal lobes, where they run alongside the arched intersections between the renal pyramids and cortex.

Major arteries of the kidney

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Small Arteries, Arterioles,
and Capillaries

From the arcuate arteries, cortical radiate arteries (interlobular arteries) branch at right angles and extend into the renal cortex.

Arcuate artery and cortical radiate artery of the kidney

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The cortical radiate arteries give off afferent arterioles that deliver blood to the Bowman’s capsules of nephrons. Inside a Bowman’s capsule, an afferent arteriole forms a tuft of high-pressure capillaries called the glomerulus. The glomerulus and the Bowman’s capsule together form the renal corpuscle. Blood is filtered across the capillary walls of this tuft through the glomerular filtration barrier, which yields its filtrate of water and soluble substances to the interior space of the Bowman’s capsule. After passing through the Bowman’s capsule, the capillaries merge to form a second arteriole, the efferent arteriole.

Arcuate artery and cortical radiate artery of the kidney

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The efferent arteriole branches to form a network of capillaries that wind around the distal portions of the renal tubule. The capillaries that travel alongside the proximal and distal convoluted tubules are called the peritubular capillaries. Those that travel alongside the loops of Henle are called the vasa recta capillaries. The proximity of the capillaries and renal tubules allows substances to be exchanged between the neighboring structures.

Afferent arteriole, glomerulus, and efferent arteriole of the kidney

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Venous Return

From the nephron capillaries, venules return the cleansed and rebalanced blood to the cortical radiate veins (interlobular veins). The cortical radiate veins merge at right angles with the arcuate veins, which carry blood out of the renal lobes.

Venule, arcuate vein and cortical radiate vein of the kidney

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The arcuate veins drain into the interlobar veins, which transported blood through the renal columns to the segmental veins in the renal hilum. The renal vein then carries blood out kidney to the inferior vena cava.

Major veins of the kidney

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Learning Activity

Page Attributions

OpenStax, Anatomy and Physiology

Access for free athttps://openstax.org/books/anatomy-and-physiology/pages/1-introduction

Reference: “Gross Anatomy of the Kidney

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Reference 1: “Kidney

Reference 2: “Nephron