Degree course: 
Corso di First cycle degree in BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
Academic year when starting the degree: 
Academic year in which the course will be held: 
Course type: 
Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class
First Semester
Standard lectures hours: 
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (64 hours)

Teaching does not require prerequisites. However, knowledge of some topics in the teachings of Physics, Cytology and Histology is required. A good knowledge of English is strongly recommended.

Final Examination: 

The final exam will take place through an oral interview of about 30-40 minutes during which the knowledge and preparation of the physiological processes covered within the course will be verified.
The minimum requirement for passing the exam is the knowledge of:
- role and importance of the cell membrane in the separation of environments,
-structure and functions of the main membrane proteins (receptors, ion channels, pumps and transporters)
-main physiological parameters at the cellular and organism level (e.g. characteristics of the action potential, activity and circulatory parameters)
- basic structure and functions of the main organs.
The criteria, which will guide the evaluation of the test, will take into account the ability to correlate molecular and cellular aspects to the overall function of the different organs or systems, the ability to predict the physiological response to a particular event and the ability to balance the single phenomenon in an overview. The student's ability to use the correct scientific language will also be assessed. Based on the evaluation of the Examination Commission, the final grade is expressed out of thirty.

Voto Finale

The teaching takes place in the second year and is part of the physiological and pathological training of the graduate in Biological Sciences.
The teaching aims to provide the basis for knowledge and understanding of the morphological, biochemical, and molecular aspects of physiological processes and functional responses of animal organisms at different levels of complexity. The physiology of the cell and its molecular structures will be studied starting from the fundamental role of the membrane and its proteins. Functions in the complex organization of tissues, organs, and systems will be analysed with particular reference to mammals and humans. Some pathological aspects will be discussed and the laboratory techniques for the study of the cell’s electrical activity will be explained. The aim of the course is to convey to the student the knowledge of the main physiological aspects and to provide the necessary information to connect the cellular and molecular mechanisms to the functions. At the end of the course, the student will develop the ability to integrate knowledge at a multidisciplinary level in the physiological field and acquire a good command of the correct scientific language that will allow him to disseminate information on biological and physiological topics in the medical/scientific field.

Introduction. Central themes of physiology. Homeostasis feedback (negative and positive), internal and external environment. (2 hours)
Membranes structure and regulation, compositions, membrane protein, membrane organization. Diffusion, membrane flux, active transport and facilitated diffusion, epithelia transport. (4 hours)
Ions and excitement. Electric property of the membrane, Nerst and Goldman Equation, Donnan Equilibrium, Nervous cells, Resting and action potential, Voltage-clamp, ion channels Patch-clamp and single channel recordings. (6 hours)
Propagation and transmission of signals. The propagation of nerve impulses. The concept of synapses. Electrical and chemical synapses. Neurotransmitters. The release of mediator. Receptors and postsynaptic channels. Synaptic integration. (10 hours)
Messenger and regulatory protein, Membrane signal transduction, metabotropic receptor, G protein, Calcium and cAMP. (2 hours)
Nervous systems evolution, Central nervous systems and central control, peripheral nervous system, the autonomic nervous system, sympathetic nervous system, the parasympathetic nervous system and the enteric nervous system. (4 hours)
Sensory mechanisms. Sensory organs and cells. Encoding of the intensity of the stimulus. Somatic sensitivity and thermoceptors, touch and proprioception; nociceptors, pain; chemoreceptors, taste and smell; mechanoreceptors, hearing and vestibular system, photoreceptors, visual pigments, sight. (6 hours)
Muscle and Movements. Sarcomere structure, sliding filament theory, regulation of contraction, role of calcium, mechanisms of muscle contraction, properties of skeletal, cardiac and smooth muscle. (6 hours)
Homeostasis, Endocrine System, Control of Nutrition, water and saline balance, metabolic and developmental hormones. Sex hormones and reproductive cycles. Circadian rhythms and biological clocks. (4 hours)
Circulation and the heart, general plan of the circulatory system, Mechanical property of the heart, Electric activity and coronary circulation, Hemodynamics, the peripheral circulation, the lymphatic system, capillary, control of the central cardiovascular system. (6 hours)
Gas exchange. Oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood. Respiratory pigments. The vertebrate lung. (4 hours)
Ionic and osmotic homeostasis, osmoregulation and excretion. Balance of water and salts, osmoregulation organs. The vertebrate kidney. Henle's loop and counter-current multipliers. Excretion of nitrogen residues. (4 hours)
Feeding digestion adsorption, alimentary system, nutrients, alimentary canal, motility, structure, gastrointestinal secretion, absorption. (4 hours)
Metabolism and thermoregulation. (2 hours)

The use of a university text of physiology is essential. The books used by the teacher for the preparation of the course and suggested for the preparation of the exam are the following:
«Fisiologia umana» • 7/Ed. • Con Mastering A&PDee Unglaub Silverthorn- Pearson 2017
«Fisiologia» Cindy L. Stanfield - EdiSES
«Elementi di Fisiologia Umana» - EdiErmes

Suggestions on the choice of the textbook will be given in the first lessons.
The material presented during the lessons will be made available on the e-learning platform.


The didactic activity includes frontal lessons. The lectures in the classroom will be given with the help of power point presentations, integrated by the projection of didactic films, in many cases in English. Support activities are proposed for the preparation of the oral exam aimed at understanding the subjects covered which involve the active participation of students.

The teacher is available for meetings with students, for clarification on the topics covered during class hours or by appointment via e-mail: