Medullary osmotic gradient - influencing factors

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▪ Maintenance of fluid volume and composition, despite changes in water input and output, is crucial to a healthy life. ▪ Regulation of blood's osmolarity, or solute concentration, is a function of the nephron. • Normal osmolarity is maintained by the ability of the nephron to alter urine composition and volume. ▪ Regulation of osmolarity of body fluids depends on the: • Formation of a medullary osmotic gradient. • Amount of antidiuretic hormone (ADH) present at the collecting ducts. • Both factors allow collecting ducts to reabsorb water and form concentrated urine. • If water is allowed to pass, collecting ducts form dilute urine. • Production of the medullary osmotic gradient depends on three factors: • Differences in water and solute permeability and reabsorption in different sections of the limbs of the loop of Henle. • Urea cycling in the medulla. • Countercurrent exchange in vasa recta.

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