interlobar artery

Renal circulation

The renal circulation receives around 20% of the cardiac output. It branches from the abdominal aorta and returns blood to the ascending vena cava. It is the blood supply to the kidney, and contains many specialized blood vessels.


The table below shows the path that blood takes when it travels through the glomerulus, traveling "down" the arteries, and "up" the veins. However, this model is greatly simplified for clarity and symmetry. Some of the other paths and complications are described at the bottom of the table.

Arteries (down) Veins (up)
Abdominal aorta Vena cava
Renal artery (Note 1) Renal vein
Segmental arteries (Note 2) -
Lobar arteries -
Interlobar artery Interlobar vein
Arcuate arteries (Note 3) Arcuate vein
Interlobular artery (Note 4) Interlobular vein
Afferent arterioles Efferent arterioles (Note 5)
Glomerulus Glomerulus

  • Note 1: The renal artery also provides a branch to the inferior suprarenal artery to supply the adrenal gland.
  • Note 2: Each renal artery partitions into an anterior and posterior branch. The anterior branch further divides into the superior (apical), anterosuperior, anteroinferior and inferior segmental arteries. The posterior branch continues as the posterior segmental artery.
  • Note 3: The arcuate arterioles also supply blood to the vasa recta. The vasa recta supplies blood to the arcuate veins, thus bypassing the glomerulus.
  • Note 4: The interlobular artery also supplies to the stellate veins.
  • Note 5: The efferent arterioles don't directly drain into the interlobular vein, but rather they go to the peritubular capillaries first. The efferent arterioles also drain into the vasa recta.

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