Picture this: a Friday night in Melbourne CBD, outside of the club “Rats”. In the words of Beyoncé “it’s 11:30 and the club is jumpin’, jumpin’” and people are entering and exiting the club. This is what happens in the nephrons in your kidney. Your kidney being the city of Melbourne, and the nephron the club which the youth can’t stay away from.
Put your dancing shoes on, and let’s head to the club
The nephron is the subunit which makes up your kidney, like your cells making up your body. Within each nephron there is a structure known as the Bowman’s Capsule, or what I like to call the bouncer of the club (with that fancy red rope of course).
People enter and exit out of the club at different rates, like solutes filtering in and out of the nephron from the blood. The rate at which each enters or exits the club depends on what type of person they are.
What type of solute in the club are you?
To get an idea of what we find filtering in the nephron, I have decided to allocate each solute with a type of person at the club:
- Those with a VIP pass, or a code. They freely enter and exit the club depending on the amount of people inside or out. The busier the club, the more of these people you will find in there also. I like to think of water having one of those passes; it dilutes the club with sobriety.
- Deviant teens who flash their brand new fake ID. They manage to make it into the club, but occasionally are caught. This is the toxins found in our body; generally excreted as waste by the kidney, however if found too young for the club are kicked out to the streets.
- We then have those drunks claiming, “I have only had one drink”. They always try to make their way through, but most of the time they will find themselves sitting on the curb in the streets intoxicated. These people are our blood proteins, or what is known as blood albumin. The Bowman’s capsule or bouncer is not permeable to this and it remains in the blood.
- If there is one rule we should know, it’s this. To get into a club as a male you must get the female-to-male ratio right when on a night out with the “lads”. Some do, some don’t. These guys are urea; generally only half of them meet this criterion and can enter the club to be excreted.
- Our last type, sodium. Or, who I like to call the leaders of the night out with the girls. They decide whether the whole group filter in or out of the club depending on how the night is going. If the club is “popping”, they will lead their friends Potassium, Glucose and Amino acid into the club – these are who I most identify with. This can describe sodium dependent reabsorption or co-transporting of ions into and out of the nephron.
The rowdy crowd of the nephron needs to “evacuate the dancefloor”
Now to answer the question I know you all are asking: How do we get everyone to leave the club or how do we excrete the waste in the nephron?
Well, around 3am this club starts to close. Meaning all the people inside need to leave. Eventually after leaving the club, the people will order an Uber and leave the CBD. Similarly, the solutes will get kicked out the nephron and exit the kidney, making their way to the bladder.
Now we have likened filtration of the blood in the kidneys to a club in Melbourne CBD, there is one more thing I need to note: unlike the club, this happens all the time. Crazy, I know. Let’s all take a moment to appreciate the work of our kidneys.