This course is aimed at providing the students with a set of knowledge of the physical principles and molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of cell homeostasis. The content of the course and the scientific method with which the various topics are treated provide the means to understand the physiological regulations of tissues and organs with different functions, starting from common mechanisms. This eventually allows the understanding, in an integrated way, of the physiology of the whole animal organism.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course, the student: - will have acquired solid knowledge of the physical principles that regulate cellular homeostasis, based on quantitative assessments of physiological phenomena. - will have developed a critical vision that will allow him to apply these basic principles to the more complex functions that regulate the homeostasis of tissues and organs and therefore the homeostasis of the whole animal organism.
Lesson period: First semester
(In case of multiple editions, please check the period, as it may vary)
Physiology of the biological membrane Morpho/functional characteristics of cell membranes. Functional characteristics of transmembrane exchanges. The cytoplasmic environment Active and passive transport through the membrane Chemical and electrical potential across the membrane Mechanisms of transport for neutral substances, ions, water and organic compounds. Functional integration of electric and chemical messages. Cellular and molecular physiology of excitable cells The neuron The cell action potential The Hodgkin and Huxley theory Electrical signal generation and its propagation Biophysics of ion channels Metabotropic and ionotropic membrane receptor. The second messenger system Cell communication: chemical and electrical stimulation Electric and chemical Synapses Neuronal signal integration The modality of communication in the nervous system: the neuronal firing Functional principles of cellular memory: LTP and LTD The muscle cell: skeletal, smooth and cardiac The skeletal muscle The neuro-muscular junction Excitation and contraction coupling Basic mechanism of muscular contraction The Huxley hypothesis: the sliding filaments Biomechanics of the skeletal muscle: isometric and isotonic contractions The smooth muscle Cells organization and function Distribution and function of contractile proteins in the smooth muscle The peristalsis The cardiac muscle The cardiac action potentials Cardiac cell ionic current Cellular and molecular basis for cardiac autorhythmicity The pace maker current If Modulation of cardiac cell excitability External signal transduction in sensory cells Physiology of light sensitive cells in the eye Physiology of the auditory system cells The olfactory system cellular organization The gustatory system Touch and pain transducer at the cellular level Processes of reabsorption/secretion in the kidney Organization of the nephron Glomerular filtration Reabsorption and tubular secretion mechanisms PRACTISE It includes a series of experiments using a software that models the cardiac actionpotential. The main parameters of the action potential will be analyzed in physiological conditions and after the application of cardioactive molecules.
Prerequisites for admission
In order to follow the course it is recommended that students have already acquired the credits in the exams of: Mathematics, Physics and Anatomy.
The course consists of a series of lectures through projection of slides and explanations on the blackboard and laboratory practise where experiments will be performed which will be discussed together.
The PDF files of the presentations made in class will be available on the Ariel website of the course. Recommended textbook: Taglietti, Fondamenti di Fisologia generale ed integrata (Edises).. Other physiology textbooks may be good as well
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam consists of a written part and an oral test. The written part consists of 20 true/false questions plus 20 multiple choice quiz plus a descriptive question on general topics of the course program. Each correct answer is worth 1 point (the answer not given 0, the wrong answer -0.25 pt). The score of the quiz will constitute the 2/3 of the vote and that of the descriptive question 1/3. Those who have completed the written test with a score of at least 17/30 can take the oral exam that will normally be held in the days following the written test.