Functions of the Kidney

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The endocrine system refers to the different organs of the body that are responsible for secreting hormones that affect bodily processes.

Better known for their ability to process waste, the kidneys are responsible for the secretion of four different hormones: rennin, calcitriol, erythropoietin and thrombopoietin

These chemicals released by the kidneys affect a wide range of bodily processes dealing with the circulatory and skeletal systems.

Understanding the endocrine functions of the kidneys is necessary to understand the full impact the kidneys have on the body. Rennin is a proteolytic enzyme responsible for regulating arterial wall size to ensure proper blood pressure. When blood pressure gets too low, the kidneys secrete rennin into the bloodstream, activating a series of reactions in the blood. Rennin indirectly stimulates another hormone called angiotensin II to cause arteriole walls to constrict, thus increasing blood pressure. Failing kidneys lose their ability to monitor blood pressure and release rennin accordingly; Erythropoietin, or EPO, is a glycoprotein that regulates the transfer of oxygen and nutrients through the bloodstream by increasing red blood cell production in the bone marrow. if the kidneys become diseased and fail to produce enough EPO, the marrow makes insufficient blood cells, resulting in anemia. Recombinant EPO can be used as a treatment for those suffering from anemia, a deficiency of red blood cells. Calcitriol, also known as vitamin D3, improves the body's ability to absorb calcium. To produce calcitriol, vitamin D must be introduced into the body, either through a chemical reaction between the skin and sunlight creating calciferol, or dietary vitamin D that has been digested. Vitamin D in the body ends up being converted into calcitriol by the kidneys. Calcitriol travels to the intestines, where it enhances the body's absorption of calcium, improving skeletal health. When kidney function stops, the body is...
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