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Kidneys and Osmoregulation

Kidneys and Osmoregulation

Author: Meg O'Mahony

In order to demonstrate an understanding of kidney function and their role in osmoregulation, you need to be able to (after this and the Nephron tutorial):

  1. define osmoregulation and identify the parts of the body associated with this process, its control and how it is an aspect of homeostasis.

  2. describe the waste products eliminated by the kidneys of mammals and amphibians, birds and reptiles, fish and how they differ.

  3. explain the role of the kidney in: water balance, blood pressure, blood pH, blood composition (primarily salts) and waste removal

  4. describe the structure, location and function of each part of the kidney and be able to identify these structures in a dissection or a diagram.

  5. actively participate in the dissection (real or virtual) of a fresh or preserved kidney.

Osmoregulation involves the regulation of water, ion and pH balance in the body.  The primary organs involved are the kidneys. In this tutorial, urine production is introduced briefly, along with the different types of excretory products different animals make. The gross (what you can see by eye) anatomy of the kidney and the rest of the excretory system will be explored using models as well as dissecting a kidney.

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This tutorial is an introduction to the Kidney and some of its role in the body. The nitrogenous metabolic wastes that the Kidney excretes are discussed as well as the variation in the waste product in different animals. The anatomy of the excretory system, the kidney and the kidney's functional unit the nephron will be reviewed. The balance of this class will be devoted to a kidney dissection.

Source: M. O'Mahony, open source images

Student Notes Template

The Notes Template for the tutorial Kidneys and Osmoregulation. This contains the diagrams to be labelled with the anatomical structures.


Source: M. O'Mahony, open source images

Kidney Dissection Handout

This handout contains the instructions for dissecting a fresh pig or sheep kidney. It can also be used for a preserved specimen. Students will be evaluated on their lab skills, safety and awareness of anatomy.


Source: M. O'Mahony, open source images

Interactive Human: The Kidney

The interactive is a nice summary of kidney structure and function.  For this lesson, just watch the 1st two "chapters"  - to the 3rd marker.  After that, the animation explores the role of the nephron in more detail (next tutorial).

Source: The Interactive Human Blogspot

How do you know you need to urinate?

Great video linking nervous stimulation of the stretch receptors in the muscle of the bladder wall with to the need to urinate - and controlling this until the appropriate time - hopefully!

Source: McGraw-Hill

Urine Formation - A.D.A.M.

This is a nice overview of urine formation - after an examination of the gross anatomy of the system.

Source: Learner's TV; A.D.A.M.