Human physiology and basic anatomy

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The general objective of this course is to provide the basic principles of tissue and system organization and to describe the molecular and cellular processes governing organ and system functioning, with emphasis to the human being. In particular, the course will analyze the main molecular mechanisms of cell physiology, the salient features of organ and system functioning, the main control systems and their reciprocal interaction. The acquired information will establish the basis for understanding the physiological adaptation process taking place due to a continuously changing environment.
This knowledge is essential for understanding the subsequent courses in biological and medical area and its application is the basis of pharmaceutical biotechnology.
Expected learning outcomes
By the end of the course students will be able to: a) describe the organization of tissues and organs; b) understand the basic and advanced physiological processes, and analyze their biological meaning, regulation and integration; c) formulate and discuss the physiological adaptation processes taking place due to a continuously changing environment
The course is also expected to develop disciplinary and methodological skills which will allow the students to understand the biological aspects of the subsequent professionalizing courses.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Educational activities
If the emergency phase does not allow onsite teaching, the lessons will be held online (Microsoft Teams platform) with synchronous learning, as scheduled online. Information on how to access Microsoft Teams lessons and other instructions will be uploaded to the course's ARIEL website: please, consult it regularly. The lessons will be recorded and made available on the website.
The course will consist of lectures. seminars and exercises on multimedia interactive platforms to encourage the students' participation.
Program and reference material
The program will not change. The teaching material (slides displayed during the lectures and registered lessons) will be made available on the ARIEL platform.
Learning assessment procedures and assessment criteria.
The oral examination will be held onsite or online (through Microsoft Teams), according to the directives in force at the time of the exam. The learning assessment procedures and assessment criteria are reported in detail in "learning assessment method"
According to the epidemic evolution and in compliance with health and social distancing rules, a written "in itinere" test will be held at mid-April on the "Cellular Physiology and Histology" program, as detailed in "learning assessment method"
Course syllabus
Teaching unit I Cell physiology and histology
INTRODUCTION: Cells, tissues, organs, systems, organism. The extracellular environment. Liquid compartments and ionic composition. Homeostasis.
BIOLOGICAL MEMBRANES AND TRANSPORT PHENOMENA Structure and function of biological membranes. Transport through biological membranes: Simple and facilitated diffusion. Primary and secondary active transport. Ionic channels, transporters and pumps. Transport mediated by vesicles. Osmosis: osmotic pressure.
EPITHELIAL TISSUE AND PHYSIOLOGY Organization and classification of epithelial tissues . Transepithelial transport of ions and solutes. Organization and classification of secretory tissues and glands. Exocrine and endocrine glands. Hormones. Classification and mechanism of action
NEURONAL TISSUE AND NEURONAL CELL PHYSIOLOGY Nervous system cells: neurons and glia.
Resting membrane potential. Equilibrium potentials and Nernst's law. Goldman-Hodgkin-Katz equation. Action potential. Generation and conduction of the action potential: molecular and ionic bases.
Synaptic transmission. Electrical and chemical synapses. Neurotransmitters, ionotropic and metabotropic receptors, vesicular and membrane transporters. Excitatory and inhibitory postsynaptic potentials and synaptic integration.
Sensory receptors (general principles). signal transduction and codification in sensory receptors and organs
MUSCLE TISSUE AND PHYSIOLOGY OF THE MUSCLE CELL Organization and classification of muscle tissues.
Skeletal striated muscle: Excitation-contraction coupling. Mechanism of muscle contraction at the molecular level. Fibers classification
Cardiac muscle. Electrical activity of cardiac and pacemaker cells. Excitation-contraction coupling. Regulation of contractile activity.
Smooth muscle. Mechanism of muscle contraction at the molecular level, differences with the striated muscle.
CONNECTIVE TISSUE. Organization and classification of connective tissues. Connective tissue proper.
Liquid connective tissue. Blood, erythrocytes and gas exchange. Platelets and coagulation.
Supporting connective tissue. Cartilage. Bone, osteocytes and osteoblasts. Bone growth. Endocrine control of bone growth.

Teaching Unit II General Physiology and Anatomy
General principles of Anatomy; Three-dimensional organization of the human body; Anatomical terminology; Body regions; General structure of hollow and full organs.
The central nervous system: General organization; Skull and vertebrae; The meninges; The blood-brain barrier. The peripheral nervous system: General organization; The somatic nervous system; The autonomic nervous system. Posture and movement control, motor reflexes. Sensory receptors. Transduction mechanisms. Special senses.
General organization. Neuroendocrinology: the pituitary portal system, hypothalamic, neurohypophyseal and adenohypophyseal hormones. The endocrine "axes"
General characteristics, structure, cell types, vascularization and innervation of the skin. The skin appendages. Main physiological functions of the skin.
Generalities of the osteo-arthro-muscular system
Heart: Macroscopic anatomy of the heart. Small and large club. Electrical activity of the heart. Action potential of autorhythmic cells, conduction tissue, action potential of contractile cells. Mechanical activity of the heart. Cardiac cycle, systolic and cardiac output. Regulation of cardiac activity.Circle: Macroscopic anatomy of blood vessels. Circulatory dynamics principles. Functions of the arterial, venous and capillary districts. Regulatory mechanisms of the cardiovascular system in maintaining blood flow and blood pressure. The lymphatic system. Blood and hemostasis.
Anatomical organization of the airways and lungs. Respiratory muscle.Respiratory mechanics. Respiratory volumes. Gas exchange at the level of the pulmonary alveoli. Hemoglobin. Transport of O2 and CO2. Breathing control. Local and central control of respiratory activity: role of pH, CO2 and oxygen. The bulbar centers of respiration control.
Macroscopic organization of kidney, ureters, bladder and urethra. Organization of the nephron. Principles of glomerular filtration, tubular reabsorption, excretion. Plasma clearance. Renal glucose threshold. Water / saline homeostasis and renal control.
Anatomical organization of the digestive tract, peritoneum. Gastrointestinal tract secretions. Stomach, pancreas and liver functions in digestive processes. The hepatic portal system. Bile formation. Elements of digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, proteins and lipids.
Prerequisites for admission
Students taking this course are expected to have a background in physics, general and organic chemistry and biology and biochemistry
Teaching methods
Frontal lessons, seminars, interactive multimedia platforms
Teaching Resources
"Human Physiology, an integrated approach", aut. D.U. Silverthorn, Pearson, 2010.
"Principles of Human Physiology " Stanfield Cindy L., Pearson
"Fundamentals of Anatomy & Physiology", Frederic H. Martini, 2012.
Teaching Materials can be found on the web site ARIEL
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam is an oral interview and it is divided into two parts, concerning the two didactical units.
The first part focuses on cellular physiology and histology and consists of two questions: the first is related to the cell functioning and the other is inherent to tissue organization. The interview is passed if the candidate demonstrates that he/she has acquired and understood the principles of cell functioning and cell organization in tissues (not the simple "learning by heart"). For student attending the courses, an on-going evaluation is planned in written form (with open and multiple-choice questions) during the teaching-break (generally April). The exam is deemed to be passed only if the student has acquired a minimum score of 18/30.
The second part focuses on the different physiological systems. In general, the oral exam consists of three questions: the first concerning a topic that can be chosen by the student himself, the subsequent ones concerning two different apparatuses. The presentation and organization of the first topic will allow to verify the general comprehension of the subject, as well as the communication skills. The other questions will serve to verify the degree of in-depth study, and the appropriateness of the terminology.
The final mark is the weighted average (4 credits for Cellular Physiology and histology and 6 credits for General Physiology and Anatomy) of the two marks. The evaluation is released at the end of the test and submitted to the candidate for acceptance. The assessment includes a range of: minimum marks (18-23/30) if sufficient preparation is demonstrated; intermediate marks (24-27/30) if the student shows a good knowledge of all the topics covered in the exam; high marks (28-30/30) if the student shows an excellent knowledge of all the topics covered in the exam and excellent communication skills. The student is awarded with the highest mark (30 lode) if he will demonstrate ability to deepen the topics.
Histology and cell physiology
BIO/09 - PHYSIOLOGY - University credits: 4
Lessons: 32 hours
Professor: Perego Carla
Human physiology and basic anatomy
BIO/09 - PHYSIOLOGY - University credits: 6
Lessons: 48 hours
Professor: Galbiati Mariarita
monday - friday 8.30-17.30 by appointment
via Balzaretti, 9 piano 4 stanza 5020