The Excretory System

The Excretory System

The Excretory System T. Zack Crawford Function The function of the excretory system is to remove unnecessary waste materials from the body to maintain homeostasis and prevent damage from the body. Nitrogenous Wastes Nitrogenous wastes are produced by protein metabolism.

Amino groups removed from amino acids combine with hydrogen to form ammonia which is toxic to the body. Marine animals directly excrete this toxin. Land organisms, on the other hand, must dispose of ammonia waste while at the same time conserving water. Amphibians and mammals convert this ammonia to a safer compound, urea, which is dumped into the blood, concentrated at the kidneys, and then excreted. Birds and insects, instead, secrete uric acid which is made through energy expenditure. The benefit to this method is that it requires very little water loss.

The Kidney The Nephron Major functional unit of the kidney Up to 1.5 million in one kidney Filters urea from the blood There are 5 major components of the

nephron Glomerulus and Bowmans capsule - Mechanically filters the blood Proximal Convoluted Tubule Reabsorbs water, salts, glucose, and amino acids

Loop of Henle creates concentration gradient in the medulla Distal Convoluted Tubule secretes H+, potassium, and certain drugs Processes within the Nephron Filtration Each nephron begins in a renal corpuscle consisting of a glomerulus and Bowmans capsule. Cells, proteins, and other large molecules are filtered our by a process

of ultrafiltration. The product is an ultrafiltrate to pass through the proximal convoluted tubule, loop of Henle, distal convoluted tubule, and collecting ducts before being expelled from the body as urine. Processes within the Nephron Reabsorption process where solutes and water are removed from the tubular fluid so that they may be transported into the blood. Secretion the active transfer of materials from

the capillaries around the nephron to the tubular lumen in the loop of Henle so that they may be expelled. These materials may include natural poisons or drugs. Excretion refers to the process where urine is sent through the collecting duct and ureter to the bladder where it may be expelled from the body. Kidney stones Kidney stones are small crystals that form in the kidney. They are caused by super saturation of urine with crystal forming substances

such as calcium. Kidney stones are generally diagnosed with excruciating, intermittent pain in the groin, flank, or inner thigh. About 80% of cases are in men rather than women. The North American and European annual incidence of kidney stones is roughly .5%. Recurrence rates are estimated at 50% over a 10 year period and 75% over 20 years. Up to 98% of stones may pass through urination within 4 weeks of onset symptoms, but larger stones must be removed surgically. Less invasive treatments have emerged since the 1980s such as extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy. This treatment includes

focused, high energy pulses of ultrasonic energy to fragment the stone. Chronic kidney disease CKD is the progressive loss of renal function over time. CKD is most commonly caused by diabetes, hypertension, and glomerulonephritis CKD may cause increased blood pressure, urea buildup in the blood which may be excreted by sweating causing uremic frost, and potassium buildup in the blood causing malaise. CKD may be identified by a blood test for creatinine.

As many as 17% of adults age 20+ in the US may be affected by CKD. For progressed CKD, renal replacement therapy in the form of dialysis or a transplant will become necessary. There are, however; several compounds in development for treating CKD such as bardoxolone methyl, olmesartan medoxomil, sulodexide, and avosentan. Sources

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