The importance of the kidney to the body, as pointed out by Van Slyke1 in his Mellon Lecture (1947), is reflected in the renal control of the volume and the composition of the extracellular fluid, the glomerular filtration of plasma water and excretion of foreign substances by the renal tubules. About 25 per cent of the human body consists of extracellular fluid with its remarkably constant composition of potassium, sodium chloride and other electrolytes. The maintenance of this constant composition and of the volume is a function of the kidney. The total volume of blood flowing through the kidney per minute is more than one liter. This is about one fifth of the total volume of blood put out by the heart in one minute during rest.
Carl Ludwig, almost a century ago, advanced the filtration-reabsorption concept of renal function. As the blood flows through the glomeruli a part
STUDIES IN PHYSIOLOGY OF THE KIDNEY. JAMA. 1949;141(14):994–995. doi:10.1001/jama.1949.02910140034010
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