The kidney is one of the most highly differentiated organs in the body. At the conclusion of embryologic development, nearly 30 different cell types form a multitude of filtering capillaries and segmented nephrons enveloped by a dynamic interstitium. This cellular diversity modulates a variety of complex physiologic processes. Endocrine functions, the regulation of blood pressure and intraglomerular hemodynamics, solute and water transport, acid-base balance, and removal of drug metabolites are all accomplished by intricate mechanisms of renal response. This breadth of physiology hinges on the clever ingenuity of nephron architecture that evolved as complex organisms came out of water to live on land.
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