Glomerulus (/ɡləˈmɛr(j)ələs, ɡloʊ-/) is a common term used in anatomy to describe globular structures of entwined vessels, fibers, or neurons. Glomerulus is the diminutive of the Latin glomus, meaning "ball of yarn".

Glomerulus may refer to:

See also

glomerulus filtration rate:_ normal rate_ 125ml/min.

Bowman's capsule

Bowman's capsule (or the Bowman capsule, capsula glomeruli, or glomerular capsule) is a cup-like sack at the beginning of the tubular component of a nephron in the mammalian kidney that performs the first step in the filtration of blood to form urine. A glomerulus is enclosed in the sac. Fluids from blood in the glomerulus are collected in the Bowman's capsule (i.e., glomerular filtrate) and further processed along the nephron to form urine. This process is known as ultrafiltration.The Bowman's capsule is named after Sir William Bowman, who identified it in 1842.

Diabetic nephropathy

Diabetic nephropathy (DN), also known as diabetic kidney disease, is the chronic loss of kidney function occurring in those with diabetes mellitus. Protein loss in the urine due to damage to the glomeruli may become massive, and cause a low serum albumin with resulting generalized body swelling (edema) and result in the nephrotic syndrome. Likewise, the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) may progressively fall from a normal of over 90 ml/min/1.73m2 to less than 15, at which point the patient is said to have end-stage kidney disease (ESKD). It usually is slowly progressive over years.Pathophysiologic abnormalities in DN begin with long-standing poorly controlled blood glucose levels. This is followed by multiple changes in the filtration units of the kidneys, the nephrons. (There are normally about 750,000–1.5 million nephrons in each adult kidney). Initially, there is constriction of the efferent arterioles and dilation of afferent arterioles, with resulting glomerular capillary hypertension and hyperfiltration; this gradually changes to hypofiltration over time. Concurrently, there are changes within the glomerulus itself: these include a thickening of the basement membrane, a widening of the slit membranes of the podocytes, an increase in the number of mesangial cells, and an increase in mesangial matrix. This matrix invades the glomerular capillaries and produces deposits called Kimmelstiel-Wilson nodules. The mesangial cells and matrix can progressively expand and consume the entire glomerulus, shutting off filtration.The status of DN may be monitored by measuring two values: the amount of protein in the urine - proteinuria; and a blood test called the serum creatinine. The amount of the proteinuria reflects the degree of damage to any still-functioning glomeruli. The value of the serum creatinine can be used to calculate the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), which reflects the percentage of glomeruli which are no longer filtering the blood. Treatment with an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEI) or angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB), which dilates the arteriole exiting the glomerulus, thus reducing the blood pressure within the glomerular capillaries, which may slow (but not stop) progression of the disease. Three classes of diabetes medications – GLP-1 agonists, DPP-4 inhibitors, and SGLT2 inhibitors – are also thought to slow the progression of diabetic nephropathy.Diabetic nephropathy is the most common cause of ESKD and is a serious complication that affects approximately one quarter of adults with diabetes in the United States. Affected individuals with end-stage kidney disease often require hemodialysis and eventually kidney transplantation to replace the failed kidney function. Diabetic nephropathy is associated with an increased risk of death in general, particularly from cardiovascular disease.

Efferent arteriole

The efferent arterioles are blood vessels that are part of the urinary tract of organisms. Efferent (from Latin ex + ferre) means "outgoing", in this case meaning carrying blood out away from the glomerulus. The efferent arterioles form from a convergence of the capillaries of the glomerulus, and carry blood away from the glomerulus that has already been filtered. They play an important role in maintaining the glomerular filtration rate despite fluctuations in blood pressure.

In the mammalian kidney they follow two markedly different courses, depending on the location of the glomeruli from which they arise.

In the mammalian kidney about 15% of glomeruli lie close to the boundary between the renal cortex and renal medulla and are known as juxtamedullary glomeruli. The rest are simply undifferentiated cortical glomeruli.


Endothelium refers to cells that line the interior surface of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels, forming an interface between circulating blood or lymph in the lumen and the rest of the vessel wall. It is a thin layer of simple, or single-layered, squamous cells called endothelial cells. Endothelial cells in direct contact with blood are called vascular endothelial cells, whereas those in direct contact with lymph are known as lymphatic endothelial cells.

Vascular endothelial cells line the entire circulatory system, from the heart to the smallest capillaries. These cells have unique functions in vascular biology. These functions include fluid filtration, such as in the glomerulus of the kidney, blood vessel tone, hemostasis, neutrophil recruitment, and hormone trafficking. Endothelium of the interior surfaces of the heart chambers is called endocardium.

Extraglomerular mesangial cell

Extraglomerular mesangial cells (also known as Lacis cells, Polkissen cells, or Goormaghtigh cells) are light-staining pericytes in the kidney found outside the glomerulus, near the vascular pole. They resemble smooth muscle cells and play a role in renal autoregulation of blood flow to the kidney and regulation of systemic blood pressure through the renin–angiotensin system. Extraglomerular mesangial cells are part of the juxtaglomerular apparatus, along with the macula densa cells of the distal convoluted tubule and the juxtaglomerular cells of the afferent arteriole.

The specific function of extraglomerular mesangial cells is not well understood, although it has been associated with the secretion of erythropoietin and secretion of renin. They are distinguished from intraglomerular mesangial cells, which are situated between the basement membrane and the epithelial cells within the glomerulus.

Glomerular basement membrane

The glomerular basement membrane (GBM) of the kidney is the basal lamina layer of the glomerulus. The glomerular endothelial cells, the GBM and the filtration slits between the podocytes perform the filtration function of the glomerulus, separating the blood in the capillaries from the filtrate that forms in Bowman's capsule. The GBM is a fusion of the endothelial cell and podocyte basal laminas.


Glomerulonephritis (GN) is a term used to refer to several kidney diseases (usually affecting both kidneys). Many of the diseases are characterised by inflammation either of the glomeruli or of the small blood vessels in the kidneys, hence the name, but not all diseases necessarily have an inflammatory component.

As it is not strictly a single disease, its presentation depends on the specific disease entity: it may present with isolated hematuria and/or proteinuria (blood or protein in the urine); or as a nephrotic syndrome, a nephritic syndrome, acute kidney injury, or chronic kidney disease.

They are categorized into several different pathological patterns, which are broadly grouped into non-proliferative or proliferative types. Diagnosing the pattern of GN is important because the outcome and treatment differs in different types. Primary causes are intrinsic to the kidney. Secondary causes are associated with certain infections (bacterial, viral or parasitic pathogens), drugs, systemic disorders (SLE, vasculitis), or diabetes.

Glomerulus (kidney)

The glomerulus (), plural glomeruli, is a network of capillaries known as a tuft, located at the beginning of a nephron in the kidney. The tuft is structurally supported by intraglomerular mesangial cells. The 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 a cup-like sac known as Bowman's capsule. The filtrate then enters the renal tubule, of the nephron.The glomerulus receives its blood supply from an afferent arteriole of the renal arterial circulation. Unlike most capillary beds, the glomerular capillaries exit into efferent arterioles rather than venules. The resistance of the efferent arterioles causes sufficient hydrostatic pressure within the glomerulus to provide the force for ultrafiltration.

The glomerulus and its surrounding Bowman's capsule constitute a renal corpuscle, the basic filtration unit of the kidney. The rate at which blood is filtered through all of the glomeruli, and thus the measure of the overall renal function, is the glomerular filtration rate (GFR).

Glomerulus (olfaction)

The glomerulus (plural glomeruli) is a spherical structure located in the olfactory bulb of the brain where synapses form between the terminals of the olfactory nerve and the dendrites of mitral, periglomerular and tufted cells. Each glomerulus is surrounded by a heterogeneous population of juxtaglomerular neurons (that include periglomerular, short axon, and external tufted cells) and glial cells.All glomeruli are located near the surface of the olfactory bulb. The olfactory bulb also includes a portion of the anterior olfactory nucleus, the cells of which contribute fibers to the olfactory tract. They are the initial sites for synaptic processing of odor information coming from the nose. A glomerulus is made up of a globular tangle of axons from the olfactory receptor neurons, and dendrites from the mitral and tufted cells, as well as, from cells that surround the glomerulus such as the external tufted cells, periglomerular cells, short axon cells, and astrocytes. In mammals, glomeruli typically range between 50-120 µm in diameter and number between 1100 and 2400 depending on the species, with roughly between 1100 and 1200 in humans. The number of glomeruli in a human decreases with age; in humans that are over 80 they are nearly absent. Each glomerulus is composed of two compartments, the olfactory nerve zone and the non-olfactory nerve zone. The olfactory nerve zone is composed of preterminals and terminals of the olfactory nerve and is where the olfactory receptor cells make synapses on their targets. The non-olfactory nerve zone is composed of the dendritic processes of intrinsic neurons and is where dendrodendritic interactions between intrinsic neurons occur.

Golgi cell

In neuroscience, Golgi cells are inhibitory interneurons found within the granular layer of the cerebellum. They were first identified as inhibitory by Eccles et al. in 1964.

It was also the first example of an inhibitory feed back network, where the inhibitory interneuron was identified anatomically.

These cells synapse onto the dendrite of granule cells and unipolar brush cells. They receive excitatory input from mossy fibres, also synapsing on granule cells, and parallel fibers, which are long granule cell axons. Thereby this circuitry allows for feed-forward and feed-back inhibition of granule cells.

The main synapse made by these cells is a synapse onto the mossy fibre - granule cell excitatory synapse in a glomerulus. The glomerulus is made up of the mossy fibre terminal, granule cell dendrites, the Golgi terminal and is enclosed by a glial coat.

The Golgi cell acts by altering the mossy fibre - granule cell synapse.

The Golgi cells use GABA as their transmitter. The basal level of GABA produces a postsynaptic leak conductance by tonically activating alpha 6-containing GABA-A receptors on the granule cell.

These high-affinity receptors are located both synaptically and extrasynaptically on the granule cell. The synaptic receptors mediate phasic contraction, duration of around 20-30ms whereas the extrasynapatic receptors mediate tonic inhibition of around 200ms, and are activated by synapse spill over.Additionally the GABA acts on GABA-B receptors which are located presynaptically on the mossy fibre terminal. These inhibit the mossy fibre evoked EPSCs of the granule cell in a temperature and frequency dependent manner. At high mossy firing frequency (10 Hz) there is no effect of GABA acting on presynaptic GABA-B receptors on evoked EPSCs. However, at low (1 Hz) firing the GABA does have an effect on the EPSCs mediated via these presynaptic GABA-B receptors.

Interlobular arteries

Interlobular arteries (or cortical radiate arteries or cortical radial arteries) are renal blood vessels given off at right angles from the side of the arcuate arteries looking toward the cortical substance. The interlobular arteries pass directly outward between the medullary rays to reach the fibrous tunic, where they end in the capillary network of this part.

These vessels do not anastomose with each other, but form end-arteries.

In their outward course, they give off lateral branches, which are the afferent arterioles that supply the renal corpuscles. The afferent arterioles, then, enter Bowman's capsule and end in the glomerulus.

From each glomerulus, the corresponding efferent arteriole arises and then exits the capsule near the point where the afferent arteriole enters. Distally, efferent arterioles branch out to form dense plexuses (i.e., capillary beds) around their adjacent renal tubules. For cortical nephrons, a single network of capillaries, known as the peritubular capillaries, surrounds the entire renal tubule, whereas for juxtamedullary nephrons, the peritubular capillaries surround only the proximal and distal convoluted tubules, while another network branching from the efferent arteriole, known as the straight arterioles of kidney, surrounds the nephron loop (of Henle).

Juxtaglomerular apparatus

The juxtaglomerular apparatus (also known as the juxtaglomerular complex) is a structure in the kidney that regulates the function of each nephron, the functional units of the kidney. The juxtaglomerular apparatus is named because it is next to (juxta-) the glomerulus.

The juxtaglomerular apparatus consists of three types of cells:

the macula densa, a part of the distal convoluted tubule of the same nephron

juxtaglomerular cells, (also known as granular cells) which secrete renin

extraglomerular mesangial cells

Juxtaglomerular cell

The juxtaglomerular cells (JG cells, or granular cells) are cells in the kidney that synthesize, store, and secrete the enzyme renin. They are specialized smooth muscle cells mainly in the walls of the afferent arterioles, and some in the efferent arterioles, that deliver blood to the glomerulus. In synthesizing renin, they play a critical role in the renin–angiotensin system and thus in autoregulation of the kidney.

Juxtaglomerular cells secrete renin in response to a drop in pressure detected by stretch receptors in the vascular walls, or when stimulated by macula densa cells. Macula densa cells are located in the distal convoluted tubule, and stimulate juxtaglomerular cells to release renin when they detect a drop in sodium concentration in tubular fluid. Together, juxtaglomerular cells, extraglomerular mesangial cells and macula densa cells comprise the juxtaglomerular apparatus.

In appropriately stained tissue sections, juxtaglomerular cells are distinguished by their granulated cytoplasm.

The juxtaglomerular cell is a cell that is located near the glomerulus, hence its name.

Similar to cardiac tissue, juxtaglomerular cells harbor β1 adrenergic receptors. When stimulated by epinephrine or norepinephrine, these receptors induce the secretion of renin. These cells also respond directly to a decrease in systemic blood pressure which is manifested as a lower renal perfusion pressure.

Macula densa

In the kidney, the macula densa is an area of closely packed specialized cells lining the wall of the distal tubule, at the point where the thick ascending limb meets the distal convoluted tubule. The macula densa is the thickening where the distal tubule touches the glomerulus.

The cells of the macula densa are sensitive to the concentration of sodium chloride in the distal convoluted tubule. A decrease in sodium chloride concentration initiates a signal from the macula densa that has two effects:

(1) it decreases resistance to blood flow in the afferent arterioles, which raises glomerular hydrostatic pressure and helps return the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) toward normal, and

(2) it increases renin release from the juxtaglomerular cells of the afferent and efferent arterioles, which are the major storage sites for renin.As such, an increase in sodium chloride concentration would result in vasoconstriction of afferent arterioles, and reduced paracrine stimulation of juxtaglomerular cells. This demonstrates the macula densa feedback, where compensatory mechanisms act in order to return GFR to normal.

The release of renin is an essential component of the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system (RAAS), which regulates blood pressure and volume.

Nephritic syndrome

Nephritic syndrome (or acute nephritic syndrome) is a syndrome comprising signs of nephritis, which is kidney disease involving inflammation. It often occurs in glomerulonephritis, which is characterized by a thin glomerular basement membrane and small pores in the podocytes of the glomerulus, large enough to permit proteins and red blood cells to pass into the urine (yielding proteinuria and hematuria). By contrast, nephrotic syndrome is characterized by only proteins moving into the urine. Nephritic syndrome, like nephrotic syndrome, may involve hypoalbuminemia due to the protein albumin moving from the blood to the urine.


The nephron (from Greek νεφρός – nephros, meaning "kidney") is the microscopic structural and functional unit of the kidney. It is composed of a renal corpuscle and a renal tubule. The renal corpuscle consists of a tuft of capillaries called a glomerulus and an encompassing Bowman's capsule. The renal tubule extends from the capsule. The capsule and tubule are connected and are composed of epithelial cells with a lumen. A healthy adult has 0.8 to 1.5 million nephrons in each kidney. Blood is filtered as it passes through three layers: the endothelial cells of the capillary wall, its basement membrane, and between the foot processes of the podocytes of the lining of the capsule. The tubule has adjacent peritubular capillaries that run between the descending and ascending portions of the tubule. As the fluid from the capsule flows down into the tubule, it is processed by the epithelial cells lining the tubule: water is reabsorbed and substances are exchanged (some are added, others are removed); first with the interstitial fluid outside the tubules, and then into the plasma in the adjacent peritubular capillaries through the endothelial cells lining that capillary. This process regulates the volume of body fluid as well as levels of many body substances. At the end of the tubule, the remaining fluid—urine—exits: it is composed of water, metabolic waste, and toxins.

The interior of Bowman's capsule, called Bowman's space, collects the filtrate from the filtering capillaries of the glomerular tuft, which also contains mesangial cells supporting these capillaries. These components function as the filtration unit and make up the renal corpuscle. The filtering structure (glomerular filtration barrier) has three layers composed of endothelial cells, a basement membrane, and podocytes (foot processes). The tubule has five anatomically and functionally different parts: the proximal tubule, which has a convoluted section the proximal convoluted tubule followed by a straight section (proximal straight tubule); the loop of Henle, which has two parts, the descending loop of Henle ("descending loop") and the ascending loop of Henle ("ascending loop"); the distal convoluted tubule ("distal loop"); the connecting tubule, and the collecting ducts. Nephrons have two lengths with different urine concentrating capacities: long juxtamedullary nephrons and short cortical nephrons.

The four mechanisms used to create and process the filtrate (the result of which is to convert blood to urine) are filtration, reabsorption, secretion and excretion. Filtration occurs in the glomerulus and is largely passive: it is dependent on the intracapillary blood pressure. About one-fifth of the plasma is filtered as the blood passes through the glomerular capillaries; four-fifths continues into the peritubular capillaries. Normally the only components of the blood that are not filtered into Bowman's capsule are blood proteins, red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Over 150 liters of fluid enter the glomeruli of an adult every day: 99% of the water in that filtrate is reabsorbed. Reabsorption occurs in the renal tubules and is either passive, due to diffusion, or active, due to pumping against a concentration gradient. Secretion also occurs in the tubules and is active. Substances reabsorbed include: water, sodium chloride, glucose, amino acids, lactate, magnesium, calcium phosphate, uric acid, and bicarbonate. Substances secreted include urea, creatinine, potassium, hydrogen, and uric acid. Some of the hormones which signal the tubules to alter the reabsorption or secretion rate, and thereby maintain homeostasis, include (along with the substance affected) antidiuretic hormone (water), aldosterone (sodium, potassium), parathyroid hormone (calcium, phosphate), atrial natriuretic peptide (sodium) and brain natriuretic peptide (sodium). A countercurrent system in the renal medulla provides the mechanism for generating a hypertonic interstitium, which allows the recovery of solute-free water from within the nephron and returning it to the venous vasculature when appropriate.

Some diseases of the nephron predominantly affect either the glomeruli or the tubules. Glomerular diseases include diabetic nephropathy, glomerulonephritis and IgA nephropathy; renal tubular diseases include acute tubular necrosis and polycystic kidney disease.


Podocytes are cells in the Bowman's capsule in the kidneys that wrap around capillaries of the glomerulus. The Bowman's capsule filters the blood, retaining large molecules such as proteins while smaller molecules such as water, salts, and sugars are filtered as the first step in the formation of urine. Although various viscera have epithelial layers, the name visceral epithelial cells usually refers specifically to podocytes, which are specialized epithelial cells that reside in the visceral layer of the capsule.

The podocytes have long processes, called foot processes, foot projections, or pedicels, for which the cells are named (podo- + -cyte). The foot projections wrap around the capillaries and leave slits between them. Blood is filtered through these slits, each known as a filtration slit or slit diaphragm. Several proteins are required for the foot projections to wrap around the capillaries and function. When infants are born with certain defects in these proteins, such as nephrin and CD2AP, their kidneys cannot function. People have variations in these proteins, and some variations may predispose them to kidney failure later in life. Nephrin is a zipper-like protein that forms the slit diaphragm, with spaces between the teeth of the zipper, big enough to allow sugar and water through, but too small to allow proteins through. Nephrin defects are responsible for congenital kidney failure. CD2AP regulates the podocyte cytoskeleton and stabilizes the slit diaphragm.

Renal corpuscle

A renal corpuscle is the blood-filtering component of the nephron of the kidney. It consists of a glomerulus - a tuft of capillaries composed of endothelial cells, and a glomerular capsule known as Bowman's capsule.

Tubular fluid

Tubular fluid is the fluid in the tubules of the kidney. It starts as a renal ultrafiltrate in the glomerulus, changes composition through the nephron, and ends up as urine leaving through the ureters.

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