countercurrent multiplier

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Related to countercurrent multiplier: vasa recta

count·er·cur·rent mul·ti·pli·er

(kown'ter-ker'ent mul'ti-plī'er),
A system in which energy is used to transport material across a membrane separating two countercurrent multiplier tubes connected at one end to form a hairpin shape; by this means a concentration can be achieved in the fluid in the hairpin bend, relative to the inflow and outflow fluids, which is much greater than the transport mechanism could produce between the two sides of the membrane at any point; for example, the nephronic loops in the renal medulla act as countercurrent multipliers.

countercurrent multiplier

the amount of cross-transport in a COUNTERCURRENT-EXCHANGE system per unit distance, being a function (= multiplication) of the total distance over which the exchange takes place.


flowing in an opposite direction.

countercurrent exchanger
a countercurrent system in which transport between the inflow and the outflow is passive.
countercurrent multiplier
a mechanism that enables a membrane to absorb much more solute than water so that the residual fluid has a lower osmotic pressure. The classical example of this phenomenon is the loop of Henle in the kidney. Called also countercurrent multiplier mechanism or system.