Introduction to Loop of Henle

The human kidney comprises a million nephrons which are the filtering units of this complex and highly vascular organ. Each filters out water and solutes from the blood which passes through it into the surrounding space and is the cavity which is between the walls of the cup.The other part looks  like the form of a U-shaped loop carrying the filtered fluid deep down into the medulla. 


The Function of the Loop of Henle

The function is  to reabsorb the water and the sodium chloride from the filtrate. This helps to conserve water for the organism, which results in highly concentrated urine. The absorption of water which is within the descending limb leads to an increasing osmotic gradient within the tubule and is also known as the countercurrent multiple systems, which are responsible for maintaining the osmotic medullary gradient in the outer medullary tissue. The thick descending limb of the Loop of Henle expresses a sodium-potassium-chloride cotransporter and this helps to reabsorb approximately one-third of the filtered sodium and chloride from the fluid in the tubular lumen into the blood.


Functions of the Loop of Henle include:

  1. Homeostatic mechanisms which help to regulate the extracellular fluid volume

  2. Loop of Henle helps in regulating the potassium, calcium and magnesium excretion at the lowest energy costs, and

  3. It also helps to regulate the composition of the urinary protein.


Role of Ascending Loop of Henle

The ascending loop of Henle function is impermeable to water. In this, sodium chloride is transported from a thick portion of the ascending limb without accompanying water so an osmotic gradient of approximately 200 mosm/kg is generated. Active sodium transport is accomplished by Na+, K+ -ATPase located in the basolateral membranes of the tubular cells.


Role of the Descending Loop of Henle

The descending limb is highly permeable to water and the reabsorption occurs via AQPI channels. During this process, low amounts of urea  Na+ and other ions are reabsorbed.


Functions of Nephron

The primary function of Nephron is to flush out waste products which include solid waste and other excess from the blood. This blood is converted into urine, secretion and excretion.


Nephron, which is a basic structural unit of the kidney, is in the form of a microscopic structure composed of a renal corpuscle and renal tubule.


The cell present in each tube absorbs different molecules, excluding glucose and beneficial molecules. The blood surrounding the Nephron travels back to the body through renal blood vessels free from toxins.


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FAQs on Loop of Henle

1. What are the major functions of the loop of henle?

Loop of Henle is found in the kidney location and has three major functions.

  • Re-absorption: It absorbs 15% of filtered water and 25% of the filtered load of Na+.

  • Production of Dilute (hypo-osmotic) filtrate entering the distal tubule

  • Development of hypertonic interstitium in the medullary regions of the kidney (via countercurrent Multiplication)

2. What activity happens in the ascending loop of henle?

The ascending loop of Henle carries a thin and thick segment. It helps in draining urine into the distal convoluted tubule. The sodium reabsorption in a thin ascending limb is quite passive and occurs paracellularly because of the difference in osmolarity between the tubule and interstitium.

3. What is the role of the ascending loop of henle?

The ascending Loop of Henle is impermeable to water. Here, the sodium chloride is transported from a thick portion of the ascending limb without accompanying water so that an osmotic gradient of approximately 200 mm/kg is generated. The active sodium transport is accomplished by Na+, K+ -ATPase which are located in the basolateral membranes of the tubular cells.

4. What are the functions of  nephron?

The primary function of the Nephron is to flush out the waste products such as solid waste and other excesses from the blood. Nephron is a basic structural unit of the kidney  that is composed of a renal corpuscle and renal tubule. The nephron helps to get rid of the metabolic wastes through the process of filtration and secretion, and the substances which are useful get reabsorbed back into the blood.

5. Mention one essential part of nephron?

An essential part of Nephron is Henle’s Loop, also known as Loop of Henle.  The Henle’s loop carries both the descending limbs of Loop of Henle and the ascending limb of Loop of Henle. The location of the Loop of Henle is at the Nephron, and both the descending and the ascending limbs carry a spongy feeling. 

6. What is PCT?

PCT or Proximal Convoluted Tubule is an essential part of Nephron. PCT can be described as a system that helps in the absorption and the reabsorption as well as secretion from within the kidneys . The PCT is an important part of the renal tubule where the reabsorption of essential substances takes place. 


The blood which is brought by the renal artery is filtered by the glomerulus and then passed onto the PCT.

7. Where are study notes available?

Biology is an important subject and it is necessary to have clear concepts of all the chapters. Practice is important so as to be able to do well and score high marks. The online portal, Vedantu.com offers important questions along with answers and other very helpful study material on ‘Loop of Henle’, which have been formulated in a  well structured, well researched, and easy to understand manner. These study materials and solutions are all important and are very easily accessible from Vedantu.com and can be downloaded for free. 

8.  What are the three essential parts of nephron?

Nephron carries three different parts of tubules for secretion purpose. These three are-


1. Proximal Convoluted Tubule (PCT)

The blood brought by the renal artery is filtered by the glomerulus and then passed to the PCT. Maximum reabsorption takes place in the PCT of the Nephron. PCT is a vital region of the renal tubule where reabsorption of essential substances takes place. The surface area for re-absorption is facilitated by the lining of the simple cuboidal epithelium in them. Re-absorption takes place at the expense of energy.


2. Henle's Loop

Also called the loop of Henle, the Henle’s loop carries both descending limb of loop of henle and ascending limb of loop of Henle. Since the loop of henle location is at the Nephron; both the descending and ascending limbs carry a spongy feeling. The descending limb is the preamble to water but impermeable to the electrolyte. The electrolyte gets reabsorbed at the ascending loop of Henle, the filtrate diluted while moving towards the ascending.


3. Distal Convoluted Tubule (DCT)

DCT is the last part of the Nephron and is known for emptying its contents into collecting ducts that line medullary pyramids.


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