A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course of Microscopic and Ultrastructural Human Morphology aims to:
- describe the basic knowledge on the structural and ultrastructural organization of the eukaryotic cell;
- illustrate the organization of the cellular and extracellular components of the tissues and their interactions, highlight the morpho-functional correlations in the context of the different organs and lay the groundwork for the recognition of the histopathological aspects characteristic of human pathologies;
- provide the basis for understanding the mechanisms of histogenesis, tissue regeneration and repair for identifying the main pathogenetic mechanisms at cellular and molecular level;
- to define the microscopic structure of the organs of the human body;
- acquire the skills and the correct methodology to carry out organ diagnosis by light microscope on normal preparations of microscopic anatomy.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course in Microscopic and Ultrastructural Human Morphology, students must be able to describe the normal structure and function of the various cell types, tissues and organs and, by microscopic examination, to recognize normal histological aspects in order to make diagnosis of organ from normal preparations of microscopic anatomy. Students must also demonstrate that they are familiar with the methodological and experimental pathways underlying the contents of the discipline, as well as their current and prospective value in biomedical applications and in pathophysiology.
In particular, the specific educational objectives of the teaching can be defined as follows:
1. Knowledge and understanding: students must demonstrate to have acquired a broad knowledge concerning differentiated cells (both in the structure and in the ultrastructure), to know how to establish a correlation between structure and function and to illustrate the morphological characteristics of different tissues and their organization within complex organs ;
2. Applying knowledge and understanding: students, following a careful observation of normal histological preparations by light microscope, must be able to recognize and describe differentiated cells, tissues and organs in an autonomous way;
3. Making judgments: students, on the basis of information collected through the observation of a histological preparation with a light microscope, must be able to make an organ diagnosis by recognizing the presence of specific cells and tissues;
4. Communication skills: students must communicate their knowledge clearly, exposing the information in a coherent logical sequence, with appropriate technical language and using correct terminology;
5. Learning skills: the student, based on the acquired cultural elements, must be able to broaden his/her knowledge and to be up-to-date by drawing independently on texts, scientific articles and online platforms.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

The lessons of the first semester will take place in mixed mode:
- in presence in the classroom with a limited number of students, who have booked themselves using Google Form and at the same time in synchrony through the "Teams platform" for students not present;
- the student is obliged to wear the surgical mask for the entire duration of his stay in the classroom and to sit in the free seats respecting the alternation of one occupied seat, one free seat, one occupied seat per single row;
- the lessons will also be video-recorded to allow students unable for documented needs to follow them in sync and made available on the teacher's Ariel / Teams website;
- the lessons will take place at the Vialba center as usual

Students must enter from the main atrium of the Lita Vialba teaching pavilion and undergo body temperature measurement using a Thermo-scanner. The entry / exit routes are differentiated and marked
Course syllabus
- Cellular criteria of classification (stable / labile / perennial cells, mono / plurinuclear cells, syncyti / plasmodes, prokaryotes / eukaryotes) and meaning of the parameters N / C and S / V.
- Protoplasm: definition and chemical composition.
- Compound light microscope and its main variants. Resolving power. Transmission electron microscope and its main variants.
- Preparation of light and electronic microscopy sections: fixation, inclusion, cutting and coloring.
- Constructive hierarchies of living matter: units of measurement and observation tools.
- Cell membrane: structure, ultrastructure and function.
- Definition and description of cytoplasm composition; analysis of the chemical composition of the hyaloplasm.
- Morphology, structure, ultrastructure and function of: ribosomes, rough endoplasmic reticulum, smooth endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus, lysosomes, mitochondria, cytoskeleton, centrioles.
- Vibrating eyelashes, flagella and stereocilia: morphology, structure, ultrastructure and function.
- Core: morphology, structure, ultrastructure and function. Structure, ultrastructure and function of: nuclear envelope, nucleoplasm, chromatin and nucleolus.
- Cell vital activities: cell cycle and cell division (mitosis and meiosis), cell movement (amoeboid, cilia, flagella), secretion, endocytosis and exocytosis.
- Differentiation: definition, meaning, methods and stages.
- Concept of fabric: definition. Classification criteria and general characteristics of the main chapters of fabrics.
- Epithelial tissue: definition, embryonic origin, organization, functions and classification.
- Coating epithelia: definition, main functions and classification criteria. Morpho-functional polarity of the epithelial cell. Basal membrane. Intercellular junctions: structure and ultrastructure.
- Simple paving epithelia: morphology, location and functions. Mesothelium and endothelium. · Simple prismatic epithelia: morphology, location and functions. Top and basal differentiations.
- Epithelia paving compounds: morphology, location and functions. Epidermis: composition and morphology.
- Glandular epithelia: definition, function and classification criteria. Morphological, architectural and functional characteristics of the glands. Exocrine and endocrine glands. · Exocrine gland: definition and constructive hierarchies. Adenomere and excretory duct: definition, structure and function.
- Exocrine glands: morphological and functional classification criteria. Morphology of adenomeres and excretory ducts. Method of issuing the secret.
- Endocrine glands: definition, constructive hierarchies and vascular organization. Morphological and functional classification criteria. Method of control of endocrine secretion.
-- Sensory epithelia: definition. Taste cells and acoustic cells.
- Particularly differentiated epithelia: definition. Morphology, structure and morphogenesis of the enamel.
- Connective tissue: definition, embryonic origin, organization and functions.
- Mesenchyme: morphology and structure.
- Intercellular substance: amorphous and fibrous component. Composition, structure and functions.
- Connective tissue cells: morphology, structure and ultrastructure, locations and functions.
- Connective tissues: morphological and functional classification criteria.
- Connective tissues proper: classification, functions and locations.
- Adipose tissue: morphology, functions and locations.
- Supportive connective tissues: morphology and classification. Cartilage tissue and bone tissue.
- Cartilage tissue: classification, structure and functions.
- Bone tissue: general organization and classification. Non-lamellar and lamellar bone tissue: morphology, structure and functions. Morphology, structure and ultrastructure of cells. Composition and organization of the intercellular substance.
- Dentin: morphology and structure.
- Ossification: direct and indirect. Definition and locations. Method of carrying out the processes of indirect ossification (perichondral and endochondral). Modalities of growth of long and short bones. Mode and functional meaning of bone remodeling.
- Blood: definition and composition. Plasma and figurative elements.
- Erythrocytes, leukocytes and platelets: morphology, classification, size, number, origin and functions.
- Lymphoid tissue: structure, morphology, functions and locations.
- Muscle tissue: definition, organization, classification criteria, locations and functions. · Smooth muscle tissue: structure, ultrastructure and localization.
- Skeletal striated muscle tissue: structure, ultrastructure and localization.
- Muscle tissue: contraction mechanism.
- Cardiac striated muscle tissue: structure, ultrastructure and localization. Conduction fabric. Transduction, conduction and transmission of the nerve impulse.
- Neurons: morphological and functional classification criteria. Structure and ultrastructure of the neuron.
- Nerve fiber: definition, structure and ultrastructure. Classification criteria for nerve fibers. Myelin sheath: definition, formation, structure and ultrastructure.
- Glia: definition and function. Morphological and functional characteristics of the different types of gliocytes.
- Synapses: definition, classification criteria and functional meaning. Structure and ultrastructure of the interneuronic synapse and the neuromuscular synapse.
- Receptor cells: definition, classification and morphology of the main types.
- Efferent nerve fibers: definition and classification. Neuromuscular junction: morphology, structure, ultrastructure and function. Motor unit: definition and constitution.
Microscopic morphology
Systematically describe the architecture and structure of the organs making up the body systems, highlighting the morpho-functional relationship in particular for
- air-blood barrier;
- blood-urinary barrier;
- hepatocyte, biliary capillaries, Disse space, sinusoids;
- epithelium of the mesenteric intestine;
- blood-brain barrier.
Locomotor system
- Morphology and classification criteria of bones.
- Microscopic structure of bones.
- General morphology of skeletal muscle; morphology and structure of tendons.
- Constructive hierarchies of a muscle (macroscopic, microscopic and ultrastructural). White and red fibers.
Circulatory system
- Artery, vein and capillary: definition and structure.
- Heart: architecture and structure. Conduction system of the heart.
- Lymphatic organs and ducts: definition.
- Spleen, thymus and lymph nodes: architecture and structure.
- Lymphoepithelial organs: definition and related structure. Main examples.
- Hemopiesis and hemocateresis: notes on morphological bases.
Digestive system
- Organs of the cephalic intestine. Mouth cavity (tongue, teeth, salivary glands), pharynx and esophagus: architecture and structure.
- Organs of the abdominal intestine. Stomach, small intestine and large intestine: architecture and structure.
- Liver, pancreas and extrahepatic biliary tract: architecture and structure.
Respiratory system
- Airways. Nasal cavities, nasopharynx, larynx, trachea and bronchi: architecture and structure.
- Lung: architecture and structure.
Urinary tract
- Kidney: architecture and structure.
- Urinary tract. Chalices and renal pelvis, ureter, bladder, urethra: architecture and structure.
Endocrine system
- Endocrine glands: general information.
- Pituitary, thyroid and parathyroid glands, pancreatic and adrenal islands: architecture and structure.
Male and female genital system
- Testicle, epididymis, seminal vesicle and prostate: architecture and structure.
- Ovary, uterine tube, uterus and vagina: architecture and structure.
- Gametogenesis: definition, modality and comparison in the two sexes.
- Male gametogenesis: modalities and times. Spermatozoon: morphology and structure.
- Female gametogenesis: modalities and times.
- Ovarian cycle: definition, phases and morpho-functional modifications.
- Uterine cycle: definition, phases and morpho-functional modifications.
- Ovarian cycle and uterine cycle: correlation between cycles.
Nervous system
- Nervous tissue: histological organization.
- Nerve fibers: classification and structure.
- Spinal cord: architecture and structure of the gray substance.
- Brain trunk: architecture and structure of the gray substance.
- Cerebellar and cerebral cortex: architecture and structure.
- Nerve: architecture and structure.
Integumentary system
- Skin and subcutis: general organization and histological features.
- Skin appendages: morphology and structure.
- Mammary gland: architecture and structure.
Prerequisites for admission
Basic knowledge of secondary school regarding the biochemistry of biological macromolecules and cellular biology.
Teaching methods
- Lectures supported by PowerPoint presentations
- Practical exercises under an optical microscope for the observation of histological preparations of different organs. In order to carry out the correct reading and recognition of tissues and organs, the student receives a theoretical training during the frontal lessons and is supported to understand the preparations, during the practical exercise, by a dedicated teacher.
Teaching Resources
- Morfologia microscopica e ultrastrutturale - Istologia e anatomia microscopica di M.A. Goffredi e M. Vertemati. Ed Società Editrice Esculapio
- Istologia. Testo e atlante di M.H. Ross e W. Pawlina. Ed. Casa Editrice Ambrosiana
- Istologia di V. Monesi. Ed. Piccin
- Istologia. Testo e atlante di A.L. Mescher e L.C. Junqueira. Ed. Piccin
- Istologia di P. Rosati, R. Colombo e N. Maraldi. Ed. Edi-Ermes
- Istologia e Anatomia Microscopica. Atlante M.R. Scirea, M.A. Goffredi e M. Vertemati. Ed Società Editrice Esculapio
- Atlante di istologia e anatomia microscopica di M.H. Ross, W. Pawlina e T. Barnash. Ed. Casa Editrice Ambrosiana
- Wheater. Istologia e anatomia microscopica di B. Young, J.W. Heath e P. Woodford. Ed. Edra
Assessment methods and Criteria
The learning assessment consists of a preliminary written test, a practical test for organ diagnosis and an oral exam.
There are three ongoing written tests on the different parts of the program and their overcoming allows the exemption from the preliminary written test. This exemption lapses one year after the end of the course (it is therefore valid for the 7 consecutive exam sessions).
Written test: it consists in answering a set of multiple choice quizzes related to the whole exam program, distributed among the various topics in proportion to their relevance.
For this test, 40 quizzes are provided, each comprising five answers that can be true or false independently of each other. The correction is performed automatically, by optical reading of a form filled in by the candidates. The test is considered passed when the condition is met:
t = 5 * N - e ≥ 46 where:
- N = number of quizzes in which all five questions were answered correctly
- e = number of incorrect questions.
The test lasts 90 minutes.
Practical test: it consists in the observation, description and histological diagnosis of a microscopic preparation. This test can be taken, before entering the oral exam, by students who:
1. have passed the preliminary quiz test;
2. have obtained the exemption from the preliminary written test having passed the three ongoing written tests proposed during the course.
In both cases the practical slide test, once passed, remains valid for one year (i.e. for the 7 consecutive exam sessions following the test itself).
To pass the final exam, the student must be able to:
- use the light microscope correctly and apply the correct observation methodology for the description and recognition of the different tissues in histological preparations;
- illustrate the architectural methods according to which the tissues are organized in the preparations and outline the possible organ diagnoses compatible with the architecture and structures observed;
- rationally analyze and describe histological organ preparations, applying the correct analysis methodology to achieve a morphological diagnosis.
Oral exam: it consists of an oral interview on the whole program. The oral exam must be carried out within the session in which the written test is taken.
BIO/17 - HISTOLOGY - University credits: 7
Informal teaching: 16 hours
Lessons: 72 hours
Gruppo 1
Professor: Paino Francesca
Gruppo 2
Professor: Paino Francesca