Degree course: 
Corso di First cycle degree in Nursing
Academic year when starting the degree: 
Academic year in which the course will be held: 
Course type: 
Basic compulsory subjects
Seat of the course: 
Como - Università degli Studi dell'Insubria
Second semester
Standard lectures hours: 
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (45 hours)

To be admitted to the final exam of Human Physiology it is advisable to have previously attended the "Human Anatomy and Histology" course

Final Examination: 

The final evaluation consists in a multiple-choice, PC-based exam, organized in 40 questions on the entire Human Physiology course program. Each question earns 0.825 for a correct answer, and 0 for each wrong or missing answer.
The exam aims at defining the understanding and the degree of comprehensions of the human physiological mechanisms, the capacity to apply knowledge and comprehension and the learning capacity of the issues dealt within the Course.
The exam is passed for final scores higher than 18/30.

Voto Finale

The Physiology course aims to introduce the students to a biophysical and quantitative analysis of the functionality of cells, tissues and organs of the human body. The course provides students with the tools to understand the complexity of physiological functions
The objectives of the Course of Human Physiology are
1.To describe functional parameters characterizing the physiological behavior of cells, tissues and organs;
2.To explain how cells and tissues function;
3.To appropriately use biophysical-quantitative tools (such as equations and graphs) to describe physiological mechanisms;
4.To describe morpho-functional and biophysical correlations of organs and systems of the human body;
5.To describe mechanisms underlying the coordinated and interactive cooperation between organs and systems;
6.To analyze the mechanisms leading to alterations of body homeostasis;
7.To properly discuss topics of Physiology, using an appropriate terminology;
8.To explain how perturbances in body homeostasis affect cells, tissues, and organs behavior, leading to physio-pathological conditions.

Topics of the course:
- Body compartments
- Biophysics of blood and body fluids
- Cell electrophysiology: membrane resting potential, action potential; synapses, motor unit
- Sensory Physiology: general overview, somatosensory systems (touch, proprioception, thermal sensitivity, pain), vision, hearing, vestibular system, smell and taste
- Motor control
- Skeletal muscle: neuromotor unit, muscle contraction; twitch, clonus and tetanus.; length-tension and tension-velocity plots
- Functional specialization of cortical areas
- Hypothalamus; Autonomic Nervous System
- Sleep physiology
- Heart and circulatory system: blood, hemostasis and coagulation. Electrocardiogram, cardiac contraction, hemodynamics, Poiseuille’s Law, Bernoulli’s Law. Capillary fluid exchange, lymphatic system, pulmonary circulation, cardiac output
- Respiratory system: lung volumes, , lung and chest-wall relaxation pressure-volume plots, pulmonary surfactant, respiratory cycle, pulmonary and alveolar ventilatory flow, O2 consumption and CO2 production, alveolar gas equation, alveolus-capillary gas exchange, transport of O2 and CO2 in the blood
- Urinary system: glomerular filtration, Clearence, proximal tubule, Henle’s loop, distal convoluted tubule and collecting duct
- Acid-base regulation, physiological buffer systems, acidosis and alkalosis, blood pH regulation by respiratory and renal systems.
- Energetic metabolism and thermal regulation
- Gastrointestinal physiology: gastrointestinal motility and secretions, control of gastric function. Nutrients’ digestion and absorption, glucose homeostasis
- Endocrine system and gland of human body

- Body fluid compartments, concentration, density, osmotic pressure, saline and physiological solutions. Blood functions, hemometry.
- Cell electrophysiology, Nernst's law, resting membrane potential, the action potential and its propagation, refractory period. Time constant and space (length) constant.
-Synapses, neurotransmitters; role of Ca2+. Post-synaptic receptors; excitatory and inhibitory post-synaptic potentials, synaptic integration.
- The motor unit and muscle action
- Sensory Physiology. Receptors, receptor potential, generator potential and action potential, neural coding.
Somatosensory system, epicritic and protopathic sensibility. Touch: mechanoreceptors, tactile discrimination, dermatomes, sensory pathways.
Proprioception: muscle spindles, afferent and efferent innervation, gamma circuit. Golgi tendon organs. Spinal reflexes.
Thermal sensitivity.
Pain sensitivity: nociceptors, sensory pathways, gate control theory, endogenous opioid system.
Visual perception: optics and lenses, lenses of the eye, visual accommodation, refractive errors, retina organization.
Vestibular system: semicircular canals and otoliths.
Chemical senses: smell and taste.
- Motor control: motor cortex and motor homunculus, descending pyramidal and extra-pyramidal motor pathways; voluntary movement; cerebellum.
- Skeletal muscle: neuromotor unit, muscle contraction; types of muscle fibers. Motor and braking action, biomechanical mechanisms of elastic and contractile elements. Isometric and isotonic contraction. Twitch, clonus and tetanus. Length-tension curve and tension-velocity plots.
- Association cortex areas, functional specialization of cortical areas, hemispheric dominance.
- The autonomic nervous system and the hypothalamus.
- Sleep physiology, hypnogram, stages of REM and non-REM sleep.
- Cardiovascular system. Blood, haematocrit, haemostasis and coagulation. Heart, cardiac pacemaker, electrocardiogram (ECG). Cardiac mechanics, heart valve dynamics, Frank-Starling law, cardiac output.
Blood circulatory System: blood volume; hemodynamics, laminar and turbulent blood flow, Poiseuille's law; relationship between vessel’s cross-section, blood velocity and average pressure. Pulse wave, arterial pressure and resistance in systemic and pulmonary circulation.
Bernoulli's law. Orthostatic (postural) hypotension. Microcirculation, capillary fluid exchange, interstitial fluid, Starling's equation, lymphatic system. Control of heart activity and cardiac output. Pulmonary circulation, regional distribution of lung perfusion.
- Respiratory system: atmospheric and alveolar air, gas partial pressure, lung volumes. Subatmospheric intrapleural pressure, pneumothorax, lung and chest-wall relaxation pressure-volume plots, pulmonary surfactant. Respiratory cycle, pulmonary and alveolar ventilatory flow. O2 consumption and CO2 production, respiratory quotient. Alveolar gas equation, alveolus-capillary gas exchange, transport of O2 and CO2 in the blood. Nervous and chemical regulation of respiration.
- Urinary system: glomerular filtration, renal blood-flow autoregulation. Clearence of PAH, inulin, and glucose. Proximal tubule, reabsorption, and maximum tubular reabsorption capacity. Henle’s loop, tubular fluid and interstitial osmolarity, counter-current exchange and vasa recta. Distal convoluted tubule and collecting duct, control of fluid and solutes resorption (aldosterone and vasopressin). Control of body fluid osmolarity, volume and blood pressure.
- Acid-base regulation, physiological buffer systems, Henderson-Hasselbach equation, acidosis and alkalosis, blood pH regulation by respiratory and renal systems.
- Metabolism, nutrients, caloric value of food, oxygen consumption, heat release and caloric equivalents for O2, basal metabolic rate, specific dynamic action (of food). Temperature regulation: heat production and heat loss in human body, conduction, convection, radiation, evaporation; sweat.
- Gastrointestinal physiology: human digest

The teaching will be given through lectures, with slides. The student will be guided to the understanding of different, but integrated, physiological processes, with the aid of images, diagrams, graphs, and biophysical analysis of mechanisms involving cells, tissues, and organs.
Slides will be available on the e-learning page of the Human Physiology course

Dr. Solari receives by appointment. Please contact the teacher by email at