Immunology and Immunopathology

A.Y. 2019/2020
Overall hours
Learning objectives
- To learn the organization and functioning of the immune system, its cells and its mediators;
- to learn the essential steps of the ontogenesis of the immune system, and its changes in the course of life (intrauterine life, newborn, adult life, elderly);
- to learn the defense mechanisms of innate and adaptive immunity against bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa and helminths;
- to understand the role of the immune system in pregnancy, blood transfusions, transplant rejection and in the control of tumor growth;
- to explain the pathogenesis of main immunopathological conditions, including hypersensitivity reactions, autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases, immunodeficiencies;
- to understand the working principles of vaccines and main immunotherapeutic approaches;
- to explain the principles of diagnostic tests based on immunological techniques.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course the students will be able to:
- describe the organization of the immune system and the mechanisms of innate and adaptive immune responses;
- understand the mechanisms underlying the immune response against infections and tumors;
- demonstrate to know the mechanisms underlying the immune dysfunction occurring in pathological conditions such as hypersensitivity reactions, autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases, primary and secondary immunodeficiencies;
- describe changes in the immune system occurring during pregnancy and aging;
- apply the acquired knowledge to understand the mechanism of action of vaccines and main immunotherapeutic approaches;
- describe the working principles of vaccines and main immunotherapeutic approaches;
- acquire a correct terminology to describe the examined processes.
Course syllabus and organization

Linea A-L

Course syllabus
- General features of immune responses
- Innate immunity: recognition of structural moieties; cellular and humoral components of innate immunity; the complement system; cytokines
- Adaptive immunity: organization and development of the adaptive immune system; definition and features of antigens; structure, characteristics and function of immunoglobulins and generation of the variability of their repertoire; antigen-antibody reactions; monoclonal antibodies; development, selection and activation of B lymphocytes; MHC molecules and antigen presentation to T lymphocytes; development, selection and activation of T lymphocytes; immune tolerance
- The immune system in the body's defenses: immunity and anti-infectious defenses; the role of vaccines in anti-infectious defenses; transplant immunology and principles of transfusion medicine; immunity and cancer
- Immunopathology: hypersensitivity reactions; autoimmunity and autoimmune diseases; immunodeficiency syndromes; immunosenescence
Prerequisites for admission
Chemistry and biochemical propaedeutics
Biology and genetics
Teaching methods
Lectures with slide show; seminars; classroom exercises; journal club
Teaching Resources
- Abbas, Lichtman, Pillai. Immunologia Cellulare e Molecolare (Elsevier)
- Murphy Travers, Walport. Janeway's immunobiologia (Piccin)
Assessment methods and Criteria
Acquisition of the expected learning results by the student will be ascertained through a written exam (30 multiple choice questions), immediately followed by an oral exam. Only students who have passed the written exam (minimum score: 18) are allowed to take the oral examination.
The following parameters will be evaluated: specific knowledge and mastery of subject matter; ability to connect specific topics; ability of critical reasoning; quality of presentation; correct use of immunological terms and terminology.
The final vote will be communicated verbally to the student at the end of the interview.
Practicals: 16 hours
Lessons: 48 hours

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Course syllabus

1. The general organization of the immune system
2. B and T lymphocyte receptors and antigen recognition
3. The molecules of the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) and the antigen presentation function
4. Antigen processing and presentation to T lymphocytes
5. The antigens
6. Activation of T helper lymphocytes
7. Activation of B lymphocytes and secretion of antibodies
8. Activation of cytotoxic T lymphocytes
9. NK and NKT cells
10. The central and peripheral organs of the immune system
11. Immunological tolerance
12. The effect mechanisms of immune responses
a. The complement system
b. Cytokines
13. Immunity in anti-infectious defenses
14. Immunity and the problem of transplants
15. Immunity and the problem of cancer
16. Immunity as a cause of disease
a. Allergic reactions of an immediate type
b. Allergic reactions of delayed type
c. Autoimmunity and autoimmune diseases
d. Immunodeficiency syndromes
17. Examples of immunological techniques applied to medicine
a. The antigen-antibody reaction in vitro
b. The immunofluorescence technique
c. The production of monoclonal antibodies
Prerequisites for admission
For the understanding of the course, notions of Anatomy, Histology, Biology, Genetics, Biochemistry, and elements of General Pathology and Microbiology are needed.
Teaching methods
The course consists of a single module, delivered in the form of lectures and exercises in small groups (4 exercises of 4 hours each) in the classroom and in the laboratory.
The teaching material relating to the lessons and exercises is made available to students through the Ariel website
Teaching Resources
Immunologia cellulare e molecolare
A. K. Abbas and A. H. Lichtman
Elsevier Masson

Kenneth Murphy
9a edizione

Il sistema immunitario
P. Parham

M. Roitt and P.J. Delves
10th Edition - Blackwell Science Ed.
Antonio Delfino Editore
Assessment methods and Criteria
- The learning verification method consists of a single written test
- The written test consists of 60 single choice questions. 10 questions will be in English
- 1 point is awarded for each correct answer. To pass the written test it is necessary to score at least 36/60 points.
The evaluation will be calculated using a curve based on the maximum number of correct answers achieved within each individual exam session
- The results are communicated directly to the student via email sent by the online exam registration system
Practicals: 16 hours
Lessons: 48 hours