Molecular basis of hormone and drug action

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
BIO/14 MED/13
Learning objectives
The course intends to provide knowledge on mechanisms of action of hormones and drugs, and it is diveded in two parts.
The first part will discuss the general concepts of endocrinology, with a particular view on endocrine axes and mechanisms of action of peptide and steroid hormones. In addition, the biosynthesis, secretion and transport of hormonal molecules under physio-pathological conditions will be discussed.
The second part is intended to gain knowledge of the principles on receptors, their classification, regulation, and function. Furthermore, the course will deal with the evolution of dose-receptor interaction theories from the beginning to nowadays, starting from the basic principles of, potency and efficacy and from the definition of agonist, antagonist or inverse agonist to the theories of induction and selection.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course the student must demonstrate a solid knowledge on molecular endocrinology and in particular on the mechanisms of action of the hormones under physio-pathological conditions.
In addition, the student will have to demonstrate not only to have acquired knowledge of the signal transduction ways generated by the drug/hormone-target interactions, but also to recognize and master the different classes of drugs officially recognized on the basis of their pharmacodynamic characteristics.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
More specific information on the delivery modes of training activities for academic year 2021/2022 will be provided over the coming months, based on the evolution of public health situation
Course syllabus
Unit 1:
The course will describe the general concepts of endocrinology, with a particular focus on biosynthesis, secretion and transport of protein and steroid hormones as well as of their mechanisms of action. Moreover, physiopathological aspects of hypothalamus, pituitary, parathyroid glands, thyroid gland, adrenal cortex as well as of endocrine pancreas will be discussed.

Unità 2: - Level of action of drugs; definition of receptor; molecular target of drugs.
- Theories of drug-receptor interaction, theories of induction and selection.
- Definition of agonist partial agonist antagonist and inverse agonist
- Signal transducers: monomeric and heterotrimeric G proteins.
- Classes of receptors: receptor operated channels, G protein coupled receptors, tyrosine kinase receptors, receptor for adhesion molecules, cytokine receptors, guanylate cyclase receptors, cytosolic receptors.
- Intracellular signaling: from signal transduction to integration
- Primary and secondary effector: adenylate cyclase, phospholipases, PI3 kinase, NO synthases, protein kinases.
- Second and third messengers: cAMP, phosphatidylinositol/inositol phosphates, Ca++, NO.
Prerequisites for admission
Knowledges in anatomy, physiology and biochemistry are required.
Teaching methods
Active Lecture
Teaching Resources
Endocrinologia Generale e clinica. Greenspan's. PICCIN
General and molecular Pharmacology, UTET
Slides provided by the teachers
Assessment methods and Criteria
Oral exams are planned for the two didactic units. The final evaluation will be the result of the mean of the single votes.
Applied Molecular Pharmacology
Lessons: 24 hours
Professor: Rovati Gianenrico
Molecular Endocrinology
Lessons: 40 hours
Professor: Melcangi Cosimo