Biological sciences
Study-unit Code
In all curricula
Luigi Catacuzzeno
  • Luigi Catacuzzeno
  • 56 ore - Luigi Catacuzzeno
Course Regulation
Coorte 2021
Learning activities
Discipline fisiologiche e biomediche
Academic discipline
Type of study-unit
Obbligatorio (Required)
Type of learning activities
Attività formativa monodisciplinare
Language of instruction
The aim of the course of General Physiology is to provide students with knowledge and information in order to achieve a level of preparation appropriate to the degree in Biological Sciences. Topics covered will be a utility useful for following matters.Introduction to Physiology. Muscle Contraction. Introduction to Physiology of the Nervous System. Physiology of the Cardiovascular System. Physiology of respiratory system. Physiology of the renal system. Physiology of the gastrointestinal system. Physiology of the endocrine system.
Reference texts
Title: Fisiologia cellule molecole e sistemi
Authors: D'Angelo e Peres
Editor: Ediermes
Educational objectives
Knowledge of the structure and function of the plasmamembrane and transporters. Knowledge of the muscle physiology. Knowledge of the central and peripheral nervous system.
In order to understand the content of the course, student should have the following preliminary knowledge:1) Principles of Anatomy2) Principles of biochemistry, with special enphasis to the protein and phospholipid structure and energetic metabolism3) Chemistry. Equilibria. Acid-base reactions, particle diffution
Teaching methods
The educational activities will be conducted through lectures.
Other information

Learning verification modality
Written partial tests and final oral exam
Written tests are two in number, each consisting of questions with multiple responses. The oral exam consists of questions performed over all the program (1/2 for studends that have performed the written tests, and 6 for students that have not performed the written tests)
Extended program
Structure and function of the plasma membrane
Main chemical components of the plasma membrane
The fluid mosaic pattern
Various types of solute transport across the plasma membrane
Properties of simple diffusion
Ownership of dissemination facilitated by transporters
Properties of diffusion facilitated by ion channels
Primary and secondary active transport
The Na / K pump: properties and operating mechanisms
The Ca ATPase pump
Examples of secondary active transport
Vesicular transport
Transepithelial transport
Osmosis and cell volume changes
Concept of tonicity
Cell volume regulation mechanisms: RVD (decrementing volume regulation)
Mechanisms of regulation of cell volume: RVI (increasing volume regulation)
Hypothesis on sensors of changes in cell volume
The membrane potential and its origin
The Nernst equation
The Goldman-Hodgkin-Katz equation
Changes in the membrane potential caused by changes in ionic permeability
The membrane as an electric circuit
The graduated potential
The space constant
The potential for action
Patch Clamp technique for recording ion channels
Current clam and voltage clamp techniques
The voltage gated K channels
The voltage gated Na channels
Ionic bases of the action potential
The Hodgkin cycle
The refractory
Propagation of the action potential along a plasma membrane
Propagation of the action potential in myelinated and unmyelinated fibers
Main types of communication between cells
Main phases of chemical communication between cells
The receptors for chemical communication: properties and types
Main types of intracellular second messengers
The G proteins
Tyrosine kinase transduction
CAMP-mediated transduction
PLC mediated transduction
Chemical and electrical synapses
Structure of a chemical synapse
Main phases of synaptic transmission
SNARE proteins
The priming process
Synaptotagmin and vesicular fusion
Quantal release of neurotransmitter from a chemical synapse
The postsynaptic potentials
Main types of neurotransmitters
Main types of postsynaptic receptors
The receptors for acetylcholine
GABA receptor
The receptors for glutamate
The receptors for noradrenaline
Synaptic integration: convergence and divergence
Synaptic integration: spatial and temporal summation
Presynaptic inhibition
Main types of muscle
Structure of the skeletal muscle
Thick and thin filament structure
The sarcomere
The cycle of cross bridges
Calcium-dependence of the contractile mechanism in skeletal muscle
Isometric and isotonic contraction
Simple and tetanic shocks
Tension-length relationship in skeletal muscle
Tension-speed relationship in skeletal muscle
Elastic components in series and in parallel in skeletal muscle
Excitation-contraction coupling in skeletal muscle
Slow and fast muscle fibers
Skeletal muscle metabolism: main sources of energy expenditure
Skeletal muscle metabolism: energy sources for contraction
Main differences between skeletal muscle and smooth muscle
Modulation of contraction in smooth muscle
Calcium-dependence of smooth muscle contraction
sensory modalities and law of specific nervous energies;
stimulus-response curves in sensory perception;
main stages of sensory function;
sensory receptors and receptor potential
function and types of somatic sensitivity;
types of sensory neurons based on the conduction speed
tactile sensitivity: types of receptors based on localization and response;
prorpioceptive sensitivity: joint receptors, neuromuscular spindles, Golgi tendon receptors;
somatosensory cortex and somatotopy;
integration of somatic signals: lateral inhibition;
pain: types of nociceptors and nociceptive stimuli;
rapid pain and slow pain;
primary and secondary hyperalgesia;
referred pain;
spinal modulation of nociception;
endolymph and perilymph in the inner ear and their production;
hair cells and mechanical transduction channels;
structure and function of semicircular canals and otolithic organs;
the cochlea and the path of the sound waves inside it;
the organ of the corti and the mechanical transduction of sound waves;
internal and external hair cells of the organ of Corti;
amplification of the auditory signal;
sound frequency discrimination;
primary auditory cortex and tonotopy;
endolymph and perilymph and their production;
hair cells and mechanical transduction channels;
glutamate and cholinergic synapses in hair cells
structure and function of semicircular canals and otolithic organs;
the cochlea and the path of the sound waves inside it;
the organ of the corti and the mechanical transduction of sound waves;
inner and outer hair cells;
amplification of the auditory signal;
frequency discrimination;
primary auditory cortex and tonotopy;
structure of the eye;
lens function by the cornea and the lens;
retinal circuit;
photoreceptors (cones and rods);
differences in the density of photoreceptors in different areas of the retina;
phototransduction and receptor potential;
conopsins and color discrimination;
retinal processing;
center-periphery opposition and horizontal cells;
primary and secondary visual cortex;
stereoscopic vision;
retinotopic order;
the gustatory buttons and the olfactory epithelium;
method of transduction of taste qualities;
method of transduction of olfactory qualities;
hypothesis of the dedicated line and of the activity scheme.
primary and secondary motor areas;
motor neurons and motor units;
types of motor neurons and their recruitment;
spinal reflexes: myotatic, inverse myotatic, cutaneous;
postural reflexes and brainstem nuclei;
Control of posture;

eye reflexes;
rhythmic movements and central pattern generators;
cortical control of voluntary movement;
areas of the motor cortex and their function;
the basal ganglia;
the cerebellum
What are and what is the function of the associative areas of the cortex;
what is meant by state of consciousness;
describe the interpretation of the electroenphalographic recordings;
describe the sleep-wake cycle;
what are the neuronal circuits at the base of the typical waves of slow sleep;
which brain nuclei regulate non-REM sleep;
which brain nuclei regulate sleep REM sleep;
which cerebral nuclei regulate wakefulness;
describe the homeostatic mechanisms responsible for controlling the sleep-wake cycle;
describe the circadian mechanisms responsible for controlling the sleep-wake cycle;
what hypotheses have been advanced on the possible physiological functions performed by sleep;
definition of learning and its forms;
forms of memory: short-term and long-term;
important brain areas in declarative memory;
what is the long-term enhancement observed in the hippocampus;
important brain areas in non-declarative memory;
What are the brain structures involved in selective and generalized attention;
describe the motivation and reward systems
what are the homeostatic central functions;
body mass and nutrition control mechanisms;
temperature control mechanisms;
The sympathetic system: structure and function
The parasympathetic system: structure and function
The limbic system and emotion
Fear and brain structures involved in it
Aggression and brain structures involved in it
Cognitive functions: thinking
Cognitive functions: language
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