miscellaneous slide











Henle's Water Music

by Greg Crowther


Where osmolarity is high
In the renal interstitium,
That's where water will diffuse
If the pores are in position.

So when ADH is high,
And it's water that you're missin',
Aquaporins in the duct
Lower water loss from pissin'!

(100, 300, 100, 300)
(300, 1200, 300, 1200)
(100, 300, 100, 300)
(300, 1200, 300, 1200)

Countercurrent multipliers, y'all -- (100, 300)
Bird and mammal kidneys got ‘em. (300, 1200)
A small gradient ‘cross the lumen wall. (100, 300)
A large gradient, top to bottom. (300, 1200)

Salt’s extracted from ascending limbs; (100, 300)
Water exits while descending, (300, 1200)
Sparing all of us a fate so grim: (100, 300)
Urination never-ending! (300, 1200)


This song covers the mechanism by which water is conserved in mammalian kidneys. In brief, the nephron's loop of Henle maintains an osmolarity gradient such that, when pre-urine travels down the collecting duct, water is drawn out of the collecting duct into the interstitial fluid and reabsorbed by the blood. This reabsorption is greatly enhanced by the insertion of water pores (aquaporins) into the membranes of collecting duct cells, which is caused by the release of antidiuretic hormone (ADH) during periods of dehydration.

The rising melody of the lines "Where osmolarity is high" and "So when ADH is high" provides musical reinforcement of the idea that, in the scenario of the song, these parameters are indeed high.

Other Files

MP3 (demo)

score (with melody play-back)