Experiments on Renal Function in Humans

Producer: Sheffield BioScience Programs

This highly interactive computer program is designed to allow students to collect urine and plasma data from groups of healthy male students who took part in the following investigations:
1. control experiment (no water loading)

2. water loading experiment

3. experiments to investigate the action of four diuretics (acetazolamide, amiloride, hydrochlorothiazide, bumetanide) in water loaded subjects

For each experiment, data are presented (mean values: n=10) graphically for:

  • plasma electrolyte concentrations (Na+, K+, Cl-, HCO3-)
  • plasma creatinine concentration and plasma osmolality
  • urine electrolyte (Na+, K+, Cl-, HCO3-)
  • urine creatinine output and total solute output
  • urine osmolality
  • urine flow.

Students observing data from water-loaded subjects may superimpose control data to give a visual comparison. Similarly, water-loading data can be superimposed for each of the diuretic experiments.

The program also describes the protocol for each experiment and, in brief, the methods used to analyse urine and plasma. Accompanying each experiment are several interactive questions and tasks to emphasise the important physiological principles. These may be questions (e.g. multiple choice or true false with feedback), data interpretation exercises, or calculations. For example, for each experiment and in addition to other questions, students are asked to calculate using data they have collected from the program: glomerular filtration rate; total and fractional (%) water re-absorption; total and fractional (%) Na+ re-absorption. The calculations require them to take measurements from the graphical screen displays, enter it into well-established formulae and type in their answers. Assistance with the calculations is available via an on-screen "Help" and, if they get the answer incorrect, there is also a "Tell" facility which demonstrates how the correct answer is arrived at. These questions are designed to consolidate knowledge and to allow students to self-assess their understanding of the section they have completed. A summary of all other data, which may be calculated, is also incorporated.


Language Versions: English

Recommended System Requirements:


  • Microsoft Windows XP (32 bit), Windows Server 2003 (32-bit), Windows Server 2008 (32 bit), Windows Vista (32 bit), Windows 7 (32 bit and 64 bit), Windows 8
  • 2.33GHz or faster x86-compatible processor, or Intel Atom 1.6GHz or faster processor for netbooks
  • 128MB of RAM (1GB of RAM recommended for netbooks); 128MB of graphics memory
  • Internet Explorer 7.0 or later, Mozilla Firefox 4.0 or later, Google Chrome, Safari 5.0 or later, or Opera 11

Mac OS:

  • Mac OS X v10.6, v10.7, or v10.8
  • Intel Core Duo 1.83GHz or faster processor
  • 256MB of RAM; 128MB of graphics memory
  • Safari 5.0 or later, Mozilla Firefox 4.0 or later, Google Chrome, or Opera 11
  • Target Audience: Suitable for undergraduate medical and science (physiology, biological sciences) students.

Price: £250 (multiuser, educational license)

Experiments on Renal Function in Humans Experiments on Renal Function in Humans