FIGURATION, REABSORPTION, AND SECRETION
Every one of us depends on the process of urination for the removal of certain waste products in the body. The production of urine is vital to the health of the body. Most of us have probably never thought of urine as valuable, but we could not survive if we did not produce it and eliminate it. Urine is composed of water, certain electrolytes, and various waste products that are filtered out of the blood system. Remember, as the blood flows through the body, wastes resulting from the metabolism of foodstuffs in the body cells are deposited into the bloodstream, and this waste must be disposed of in some way. A major part of this "cleaning" of the blood takes place in the kidneys and, in particular, in the nephrons, where the blood is filtered to produce the urine. Both kidneys in the body carry out this essential blood cleansing function. Normally, about 20% of the total blood pumped by the heart each minute will enter the kidneys to undergo filtration. This is called the filtration fraction. The rest of the blood (about 80%) does not go through the filtering portion of the kidney, but flows through the rest of the body to service the various nutritional, respiratory, and other needs that are always present. For the production of urine, the kidneys do not simply pick waste products out of the bloodstream and send them along for final disposal. The kidneys' 2 million or more nephrons (about a million in each kidney) form urine by three precisely regulated processes: filtration, reabsorption, and secretion.
Urine formation begins with the process of filtration, which goes on continually in the renal corpuscles (Figure 3). As blood courses through the glomeruli, much of its fluid, containing both useful chemicals and dissolved waste materials, soaks out of the blood through the membranes (by osmosis and diffusion) where it is filtered and then flows into the Bowman's capsule....