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Using a Computer Simulation to Teach Undergraduate Students the Principles Behind GFR Autoregulation

  • 1 José J. Reyes-Tomassini is a visiting assistant professor at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.
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The concept of glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and its regulation is central in renal physiology. Estimates of GFR are often used in the clinical setting to assess kidney health. GFR is an effective measure of kidney function (1). Many pathophysiologic conditions affect GFR by altering the glomerular capillary pressure, including diabetes mellitus and essential hypertension. Afferent and efferent arteriole resistance plays a crucial role in the regulation of GFR. Whereas dilation of the afferent arteriole causes an increase in GFR, dilation of the efferent arteriole decreases GFR (2, 3). The concept is familiar to