19.3 Function of the Tubules

Proximal Convoluted Tubule (PCT): PCT is lined by simple cuboidal brush border epithelium which increases the surface area for reabsorption.

Nearly all of the essential nutrients, and 70-80 per cent of electrolytes and water are reabsorbed by this segment. PCT also helps to maintain the pH and ionic balance of the body fluids by selective secretion of hydrogen ions, ammonia and potassium ions into the filtrate and by absorption of HCO3 – from it.

 

Henle’s Loop: Reabsorption in this segment is minimum. However, this region plays a significant role in the maintenance of high osmolarity of medullary interstitial fluid. The descending limb of loop of Henle is permeable to water but almost impermeable to electrolytes.

This concentrates the filtrate as it moves down. The ascending limb is impermeable to water but allows transport of electrolytes actively or passively. Therefore, as the concentrated filtrate pass upward, it gets diluted due to the passage of electrolytes to the medullary fluid.

 

Distal Convoluted Tubule (DCT): Conditional reabsorption of Na+ and water takes place in this segment. DCT is also capable of reabsorption of HCO3 – and selective secretion of hydrogen and potassium ions and NH3 to maintain the pH and sodium-potassium balance in blood.

 

Collecting Duct: This long duct extends from the cortex of the kidney to the inner parts of the medulla. Large amounts of water could be reabsorbed from this region to produce a concentrated urine.

This segment allows passage of small amounts of urea into the medullary interstitium to keep up the osmolarity. It also plays a role in the maintenance of pH and ionic balance of blood by the selective secretion of H+ and K+ ions.

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