Human Physiology

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
At the end of the class, student should be able to:
1.Know how different organs of the human body work and understand how they cooperate in the various apparatus;
2. Know in general the control system of the various organs and apparatus that form the human body.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the class, students will be able to have a complete view of the functioning of the human body and will be able to understand the main control mechanism.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

- The program of the course will not be modified
- Teaching resources will not be modified
- Teaching method: recorded lessons uploaded to the Ariel platform
- Assessment method: written exam on Moodle-SEB-videoconference platform
Course syllabus
∙ define and explain the concept of homeostasis.
∙ know the general characteristics of cell membranes and explain the permeability and ion flux, steady state, active and passive transport, osmosis. Know the excitable fabrics and define the ionic bases of the membrane potential in resting cells by comparing this potential with the equilibrium of a single ionic species (nernst equation). Explain the role of the na + -k + pump to illustrate the relationships between variations of membrane potentials, ionic flows, membrane permeability. depolarization and hyperpolarization. Explain the methods and mechanisms of propagation of a local variation of potential by describing the time course of the action potential and correlate its main phases with the changes in membrane permeability. Explain the meaning of the threshold for the action potential and illustrate the methods of propagation of these potentials as well as the differences in the propagation in myelinated and unmyelinated fibers. Knowing how to classify nerve fibers, know and describe the transmission of the electrical signal through the synapses: electrical and chemical synapses and their anatomical and functional differences. Describe and distinguish the anatomic-functional features of the central and peripheral synapses (neuromuscular synapses) and the excitatory and inhibitory synapses. Know and define neurotransmitters and neuromodulators.
∙ know and describe the functional organization of the muscle and the excitation-contraction-relaxation cycle. Illustrate the characteristics of isometric and isotonic contraction and the relationships between developed force and initial muscle length as well as strength and shortening speed. Explain the mechanisms that lead to an increase in strength developed with increasing muscle stimulation frequency. Give the definition of fusion frequency of muscle tetanus. illustrate the functional characteristics of smooth muscles and heart muscle, and the distinction with skeletal muscle.
∙ know the organization of the elements of the motor system, the innervation of muscles and the control of movement and posture by the spinal cord, brain stem, cerebral cortex, basal ganglia and cerebellum. Define the importance of the different control levels of motor neuronal activity. Know the main types of spinal reflexes and the function of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase. Know the integrative functions of the CNS. Know the difference between sensation and perception of sensory information and the classification of sensory receptors and the organization of the somestetic system. define the concept of transduction and explain the relationships between stimulus intensity, receptor potential and discharge frequency in the afferent fibers. Illustrate adaptation mechanisms in receptors and functional implications and explain the concepts of convergence and divergence, receptive field, sensory modalities and recruitment. Explain the perception of pain and the function of endogenous opioids.
∙ know the anatomical-functional characteristics of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system and their pre and postganglionic mediators.
∙ know the electrical, mechanical and metabolic properties of the myocardium and explain the law of all or nothing; frank-starling's law; laplace's law. Describe cardiac excitable tissues and explain the functions of the conduction system of the heart: excitability, automatism, rhythmicity. Define and know the heart rate regulation and illustrate the wave morphology of a normal ecg and the cardiac cycle. Define and quantify the systolic range, cardiac output and blood pressure and illustrate their reflex and humoral regulation. Know the function of the veins, venous compliance and explain the venous return. Illustrate poiseuille's law.
∙ know the functions of the alimentary canal (nutrients supplementation and waste products elimination) and the physiological processes responsible for these functions: motility, secretion, digestion, absorption, excretion. Describe the motility of the esophagus, stomach (relaxation from filling, mixing, propulsion, motor activity of the pylorus), small intestine (segmentation and propulsion), large intestine (mixing, propulsion, defecation), gallbladder and biliary tract. Know the functions of external secretions: salivary, gastric, intestinal, pancreatic and biliary. Illustrate the methods and sites related to the processes of absorption of nutrients through the intestinal epithelium.

∙ Know the physiology of body fluids: volumes, compositions, intracellular and extracellular water, osmotic interactions. Describe the functions of the kidney. Explain glomerular filtration and the forces involved in glomerular ultrafiltration. Illustrate the active resorption mechanisms characterized by maximum tubular load (Tm) and passive. Describe tubular secretion. Define and describe kidney clearances. Demonstrate general knowledge about urine concentration and dilution mechanisms. Know the role of the kidneys in the acid-base balance. Describe the correlation of the reabsorption of Na and water and the functions of the bladder as well as its regulatory centres.
∙ Know the functions of the blood: transport, immunity, hemostasis and homeostasis. Know the composition and volume of plasma and blood. The viscosity of plasma and blood. Describe hematopoietic stem cells. Describe the physiology of primary hemostasis. The mechanisms of homeostatic control. Know Platelets and the platelet phase of hemostasis as well as the coagulation factors and the physiology of the blood coagulation.
∙ Know the functional structure of the lung. Describe and define lung volumes and capacities. Know the composition of the enviromental air. Know the composition of the alveolar air. Know and illustrate the methods of alveolar diffusion and the transport of gases in the blood. Know the physiological role of the lung in acid-base homeostasis. Know and define hypoxia and hypercapnia.
Prerequisites for admission
There are no prerequisites
Teaching methods
Frontal lessons supported by visual slides
Teaching Resources
Costanzo "Fisiologia". EdiSES.
∙ Silverthon "Fisiologia umana". Casa Editrice Ambrosiana.
∙ Green "Fisiologia clinica: l'essenziale". Piccin.
∙ Ackermann "Fisiologia umana essenziale"EdiSES.
∙ Langley "Anatomia funzionale e fisiologia" Piccin.
∙ Guyton A.C. " Fisiologia Medica". EdiSES
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam will be exclusively written, and will consist of 30 multiple choice questions. The questions will focus on all the topics covered during lessons, and are intended to determine the student's general comprehension of the main topics. To pass the exam it will be necessary to answer exactly at least 16 questions; the final mark will therefore be calculated by adding 2 to the number of correct answers
BIO/09 - PHYSIOLOGY - University credits: 4
Lessons: 40 hours
Educational website(s)
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