Although a number of morphological studies have investigated the vascular system of the rat kidney, minimal data are available on the detailed anatomy of the efferent arterioles located throughout the cortex of the kidney. In the present study, the renal vascular system was filled with Microfil and the various efferent arteriole patterns were examined extensively. The efferent vessels of the entire cortex appear to form three major patterns which in turn divided the cortex into three separate regions: the outer, middle and inner cortex. The efferent arterioles of the outer cortex leave the glomerulus and run perpendicular to the kidney capsule. However, as the efferent arterioles ascend, they may show three variations in the way they branch: (1a) the efferent arteriole does not branch until directly beneath the capsule, (1b) the efferent vessel begins to divide into its major branches 100–200 μm below the surface of the kidney and (1c) the efferent vessel has only a short course before giving off many side branches. In the middle cortical area, the branches of the efferent arteriole run lateral to the glomerulus. However, the efferent arterioles of the inner cortex have a few branches which run lateral to the glomerulus while most of them descend into the medulla as vasa rectae. The unique morphological features of the efferent arterioles of the outer cortex are of particular interest in light of the functional data which suggests that the reabsorption of fluid by peritubular capillaries may indeed regulate the rate of net tubular sodium reabsorption.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)