General physiology and animal physiology

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
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.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Course syllabus
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
Prerequisites for admission
Students are seriously recommended to pass the Mathematics and Physics exams before joining this course
Teaching methods
Students are awarded that a constant presence during class is highly recommended. Deductive and interactive logic will be the central thread characteristics of the entire course. "Time" will be the main theme. Particular attention will be devoted to the comprehension of the dynamic of the different physiological mechanisms.
Teaching Resources
E. Kandel et al., Principles of Neural Science, ed. Elsevier.
B, Hille. Ion Channels In Excitable Membrane. Ed. Sinauer
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam consists of an oral discussion about the subject presented in the course. Since this is a Physiology course and not an English language course, students could ask to take the exam in Italian.
BIO/09 - PHYSIOLOGY - University credits: 9
Practicals: 16 hours
Lessons: 64 hours
Professor: Mazzanti Michele
Monday, 10.30-12.30
6th floor, B tower, Biological Buildings, via Celoria 26