Compare the functioning of alveoli in the lungs and nephrons in the kidneys with respect to their structure and functioning.

Alveoli and nephron act as the structural and functional units of lungs and kidneys respectively. Alveoli occur in the respiratory system while the nephrons occur in the excretory system. The cell wall of alveoli and nephrons is thick and surrounded by blood capillaries. Let us have a detailed look at the differences between alveoli and nephrons with respect to their structure and function.

Comparison Chart


Alveoli are the tiny air sacs present in the lungs that allows the rapid exchange of gases.

Nephrons comprise glomerulus and tubules through which glomerular filtrate passes. 

Present in the lungs

Present in kidneys
There are located in the respiratory system

These are located in the excretory system

There are around 480 million alveoli found in each  lung

Around 1.5 million nephrons found in kidneys
These are sac-like structures

These are tubular structures

Pulmonary arterioles supply blood

Afferent arterioles supply blood
Blood is supplied to pulmonary veins

Blood is supplied to renal veins

Facilitates gaseous exchange in lungs

Facilitates blood filtration to produce urine
Made up of simple squamous epithelium Made up of simple cuboidal epithelium with microvilli

Alveoli are tiny air sacs present in the lungs with the appearance of a bunch of grapes. These are also known as pulmonary alveoli. They mainly facilitate the exchange of gases. Whereas, nephrons are divided into renal corpuscle and renal tubule. These are mainly concerned with blood filtration.

To know more about the structural and functional differences between alveoli and nephrons, keep visiting BYJU’S website or download BYJU’S app.

Further Reading:

What are Nephrons

Human Excretory System

Urine Formation

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  1. Sneha maddheshiya

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