We hypothesize that the inner medulla of the kangaroo rat Dipodomys merriami, a desert rodent that concentrates its urine to over 6,000 mosmol/kg H2O, provides unique examples of architectural features necessary for production of highly concentrated urine. To investigate this architecture, inner medullary vascular segments in the outer inner medulla were assessed with immunofluorescence and digital reconstructions from tissue sections. Descending vasa recta (DVR) expressing the urea transporter UT-B and the water channel aquaporin 1 lie at the periphery of groups of collecting ducts (CDs) that coalesce in their descent through the inner medulla. Ascending vasa recta (AVR) lie inside and outside groups of CDs. DVR peel away from vascular bundles at a uniform rate as they descend the inner medulla, and feed into networks of AVR that are associated with organized clusters of CDs. These AVR form interstitial nodal spaces, with each space composed of a single CD, two AVR, and one or more ascending thin limbs or prebend segments, an architecture that may lead to solute compartmentation and fluid fluxes essential to the urine concentrating mechanism. Although we have identified several apparent differences, the tubulovascular architecture of the kangaroo rat inner medulla is remarkably similar to that of the Munich Wistar rat at the level of our analyses. More detailed studies are required for identifying interspecies functional differences.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology|
|State||Published - Oct 1 2012|
- Concentrating mechanism
- Urea transport
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)