Renal vasculature and excretory system of the agamid lizard, Ctenophorus ornatus.

Research paper by James E JE O'shea, S Donald SD Bradshaw, Tom T Stewart

Indexed on: 01 Sep '93Published on: 01 Sep '93Published in: Journal of Morphology


The structure and ultrastructure of the vasculature and nephric tubules of the kidney of the Ornate Dragon Lizard, Ctenophorus (=Amphibolurus) ornatus, was investigated by light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy of resin casts. Compared with other agamid lizards, the arterial supply of only two arteries per kidney is small. The number of glomeruli per kidney in C. ornatus, at between 400 and 600, is low by reptilian standards and very low for lizards. The glomeruli are not only comparatively few in number but are also simple in the nature of their capillary configuration. These features are suggestive of a greatly reduced surface area for arterial filtration. In contrast to the small arterial supply, the afferent venous supply, the renal portal system (RPS), is substantial and forms an extensive capillary network throughout the kidneys. No venous shunts were found in the kidneys, suggesting that the venous network is functioning as a true portal system. Valves were not identified within the RPS, implying that neural control of general vascular tone could alter velocity and perhaps the direction of blood flow by changing pressure profiles. The nephroi are comparatively short and display features consistent with the production of urate precipitates as the primary nitrogenous waste product. A close association between the distal tubule (DT) and the glomerular hilus may demonstrate a simple form of a juxtaglomerular apparatus. The finding of aglomerular tubules indicates an important role for tubular secretion. The results of this study indicate that these lizards may have a reduced reliance on filtration for homoiostasis and a greater reliance on tubular secretion. © 1993 Wiley-Liss, Inc. Copyright © 1993 Wiley-Liss, Inc.