The kidney is an organ of complex structure and function, a fact that is increasingly revealed as our investigations proceed. We have witnessed a progression from recognition of a single nephron to three types of nephrons, of four main tubular parts (proximal tubule, intermediate tubule, distal tubule, collecting duct) to several subdivisions of those parts, and of homogeneity of cells within a given part to identification of several types of cells within a part or subdivision. With our heightened ability to dissect the many components of the kidney, both anatomically and functionally, there is an increasing need to convey to our colleagues precisely which structure we were working with. The following standard nomenclature is disseminated to help meet that need.
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