Lorenzo Bellini

​Lorenzo Bellini

Born: 3 September 1643 Florence

Died: 8 January 1704 (aged 60) Florence
Nationality: Italian
Fields: anatomy

Italian physician and anatomist who described the collecting, or excretory, tubules of the kidney, known as Bellini’s ducts (tubules). Bellini is considered a founder of Italian iatromechanism, a pioneer in applying mechanical philosophy to the functions of the human body. His early interests were anatomy and physiology. The first essay he published, Exercitatio anatomica de usu renum (1662), contains his anatomical discovery that in the supposedly unorganized parenchyma there is a complicated structure composed of fibers, open spaces, and densely packed tubules opening into the pelvis of the kidney. His further publications extended his effort to explain all important physiological phenomena according to the law of mechanics. (Several discoveries previously ascribed to Lorenzo Bellini were made earlier by Bartolomeo Eustachi.)
He was born at Florence on the September 3, 1643. At the age of twenty, when he had already begun his researches on the structure of the kidneys and had described the papillary ducts (also known as Bellini’s ducts), as published in his book Exercitatio Anatomica de Structura Usu Renum (1662), he was chosen professor of theoretical medicine at Pisa, but soon after was transferred to the chair of anatomy. After spending thirty years at Pisa, he was invited to Florence and appointed physician to the grand duke Cosimo III, and was also made senior consulting physician to Pope Clement XI. He died at Florence on the January 8, 1704. His works were published in a collected form at Venice in 1708.


Papillary (collecting) ducts are anatomical structures of the kidneys, previously known as the ducts of Bellini. Papillary ducts represent the most distal portion of the collecting duct system. They receive renal filtrate (precursor to urine) from several medullary collecting ducts and empty into a minor calyx. Papillary ducts continue the work of water reabsorbtion and electrolyte balance initiated in the collecting tubules

Medullary collecting ducts converge to form a central (papillary) duct near the apex of each renal pyramid. This “papillary duct” exits the renal pyramid at the renal papillae. The renal filtrate it carries drains into a minor calyx as urine.

Clinical relevance

Carcinoma of the collecting duct is a relatively rare subtype of renal cell carcinoma (RCC), accounting for less than 1% of all RCCs.[5][6]Many reported cases have occurred in younger patients, often in the third, fourth, or fifth decade of life.[7] Collecting duct carcinomas are derived from the medulla, but many are infiltrative, and extension into the cortex is common.[8] Most reported cases have been high grade and advanced stage and have not responded to conventional therapies.[7][9]Most patients are symptomatic at presentation.[10] Immunohistochemical and molecular analyses suggest that collecting duct RCC may resemble transitional cell carcinoma, and some patients with advanced collecting duct RCC have responded to cisplatin- or gemcitabine-based chemotherapy.

Edited by:

Prajakta patankar


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