How does the kidney maintain glomerular filtration rate (GFR) in the setting of renal injury?

Updated: Oct 26, 2020
  • Author: Pradeep Arora, MD; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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Answer

A normal kidney contains approximately 1 million nephrons, each of which contributes to the total glomerular filtration rate (GFR). In the face of renal injury (regardless of the etiology), the kidney has an innate ability to maintain GFR, despite progressive destruction of nephrons, as the remaining healthy nephrons manifest hyperfiltration and compensatory hypertrophy. This nephron adaptability allows for continued normal clearance of plasma solutes. Plasma levels of substances such as urea and creatinine start to show measurable increases only after total GFR has decreased 50%.


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