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Difference between Glomerular Filtration Rate and Renal Plasma Flow

Difference between Glomerular Filtration Rate and Renal Plasma Flow

Did you know that there is a difference between Glomerular Filtration Rate and Renal Plasma Flow? If you didn’t, don’t worry – many people are unaware of the distinction. This blog post will explain the difference between these two concepts, and will also discuss how they are related. By understanding the differences between these two concepts, you can better understand how your body works and what is happening when your kidneys are not functioning properly. Read on to learn more!

What is Glomerular Filtration Rate?

Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is a measure of the filtering ability of the kidneys. It is the volume of fluid filtered from the renal (kidney) glomerular capillaries per unit of time.

  • The glomerular filtration rate is usually estimated by measuring the level of creatinine in a sample of blood. Creatinine is a waste product that is produced at a constant rate by muscle metabolism. The kidney filters creatinine out of the blood and into the urine. Therefore, measuring creatinine levels in blood and urine can provide an estimate of GFR.
  • There are several factors that can affect GFR, including age, race, gender, body size, and health conditions. GFR typically declines with age. African Americans typically have lower GFR values than Caucasians.
  • Men have higher GFR values than women. When other factors are accounted for, body size does not appear to affect GFR levels. Conditions that can lead to decreased GFR include diabetes, hypertension, and glomerulonephritis (a type of kidney disease).

What is Renal Plasma Flow?

Renal Plasma Flow (RPF) is the volume of plasma that perfuses the renal glomeruli per unit time. Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is a measure of renal function that reflects the overall function of all nephrons in both kidneys. RPF is therefore directly related to GFR. Renal blood flow (RBF) is the volume of blood that flows through the kidneys per unit of time and includes both renal arterial and venous flow.

  • RPF is a component of RBF and equals GFR times the concentration gradient of plasma proteins across the glomerular capillary wall. The other major determinant of RBF is cardiac output. Renal sympathetic nerve activity also plays a role in regulating RPF. Renal vascular resistance (RVR) is inversely related to RBF and can be affected by changes in intrarenal sympathetic nerve activity, afferent arteriolar tone, or efferent arteriolar tone.
  • Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) also affects RPF by influencing RVR. Renin is released from juxtaglomerular cells in response to a variety of stimuli, including decreased renal perfusion pressure, decreased sodium chloride concentration at the distal convoluted tubule, or sympathetic nerve stimulation.
  • Angiotensin II increases RVR and therefore decreases RBF and RPF. Aldosterone increases RVR through sodium retention and leads to an increase in extracellular fluid volume, which further decreases RPF. Circulating catecholamines have direct effects on both RBF and RPF through their interactions with α- and β-adrenergic receptors located on vascular smooth muscle cells.

Norepinephrine has predominantly α-adrenergic effects, whereas epinephrine has both α- and β-adrenergic effects. Activation of α1-adrenergic receptors leads to vasoconstriction, whereas activation of β2-adrenergic receptors results in vasodilation. The net effect of norepinephrine is an increase in RVR and a decrease in RBF and RPF, whereas epinephrine has opposing effects on RBF and RPF due to its dual adrenergic effects.

Difference between Glomerular Filtration Rate and Renal Plasma Flow

Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and renal plasma flow (RPF) are two important measures of kidney function. GFR is a measure of the amount of blood that is filtered by the glomeruli, the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys that remove waste and excess fluid from the blood. RPF is a measure of the amount of blood that flows through the renal arteries and veins, which carry blood to and from the kidneys. Both GFR and RPF can be affected by various factors, including dehydration, kidney disease, and certain medications. GFR is typically measured using a 24-hour urine test, while RPF is measured using an invasive procedure called renal arteriography.


In conclusion, Glomerular Filtration Rate and Renal Plasma Flow are two different measures of renal function. Glomerular Filtration Rate is the measure of how much plasma passes through the glomeruli each minute, while Renal Plasma Flow is the measure of how much blood flows through the kidneys each minute. Although they are both important measures of renal function, they have different implications for patient care.

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