What are 5 differences between pig and human kidneys?

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Kidneys are part of the urinary system and are found in pairs located in the abdomens of mammals, birds and reptiles. These organs are responsible for removing metabolic, nitrogen-based wastes by filtering blood plasma. Nitrogenous wastes combine with other molecules and form toxic ammonia. The kidney metabolizes the ammonia to...

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Kidneys are part of the urinary system and are found in pairs located in the abdomens of mammals, birds and reptiles. These organs are responsible for removing metabolic, nitrogen-based wastes by filtering blood plasma. Nitrogenous wastes combine with other molecules and form toxic ammonia. The kidney metabolizes the ammonia to urea and then stores it in the bladder as urine.

Between some mammal species, the kidneys are quite similar. In pig kidneys, the renal size and collecting systems are remarkably similar to human kidneys. Because of the similarities, they are commonly used for human kidney studies and for use with human transplants, utilizing a technique known as "scaffolding."

Some differences between the pig and human kidneys include:

1. The distribution and size of the renal arterial segments are not similar to those in humans.

2. The veins on the dorsal surface of the renal pelvis are smaller than in human kidneys.

3. The length and/or thickness of ureters and urethra are not similar to those in humans.

4. The kidneys of pigs produce different proteins and hormones than human kidneys.

5. Pigs only have one renal papilla, a cone shaped projection of the medulla. Humans have many.

Although the pig kidney is physically and functionally different than the human kidney, it is similar enough for researchers. Pigs have been used for over 30 years in many medical fields, including cardiology, dermatology and more. Pig bladder tissue has even been used to re-grow human leg muscles!

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