The movement of ions like sodium into the interstitial space causes water to passively diffuse out the descending loop of Henle. How does this concentrate the urine? The solvent is removed at one place, and the solute at another. Shouldn't the concentration remain the same? Or does the removal of a little solute remove a lot of solvent? Why?

  • $\begingroup$ There are actually two places where water is removed (Descending limb and the Collecting tubules) and only one where solute is expelled(Ascending limb). Does this help? Ask If you want further clarifications. $\endgroup$ Jun 2 '14 at 9:25

Have a look at this figure (from here):

enter image description here

In the descending loop the NaCl concentration is lower than in the surrounding tissue which leads to a passive water transport along the gradient, which leads to a concentration effect. In the ascending loop then NaCl is actively transported out of the loop which then prevents the diffusion of water back into the loop.

In the collecting tube water is actively transported out leading to an even higher concentration effect. A nice animation of this can be found here.


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