Biological sciences
Study-unit Code
Luigi Catacuzzeno
  • Luigi Catacuzzeno
  • Antonio Michelucci (Codocenza)
  • 28 ore - Luigi Catacuzzeno
  • 14 ore (Codocenza) - Antonio Michelucci
Course Regulation
Coorte 2021
Learning activities
Attività formative affini o integrative
Academic discipline
Type of study-unit
Opzionale (Optional)
Type of learning activities
Attività formativa monodisciplinare
Language of instruction
The aim of the course of Human Physiology is to provide students with knowledge and information in order to the functioning of the human body
Reference texts
Title: Fisiologia cellule molecole e sistemi
Authors: D'Angelo e Peres
Editor: Ediermes
Educational objectives
Comprehension of the principal systems working in the human body; Knowledge of the regulation of the main chimico-physical parameters
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 4) Principles of general physiology
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 three in number, each consisting of three questions requiling a few line of text to answer. The oral exam consists of nine questions performed over all the program.
Extended program
Physiology of the cardiovascular system: Physical factors that regulate blood flow in the circulatory system. Relationship between pressure, flow and resistance, Poiseuille's law. Parameters that determine vascular resistance. Factors that determine blood pressure and the creation of the pressure difference in the circulatory system.
Mechanisms underlying the automatism and conduction of the cardiac action potential. Ionic bases of action potentials. Identification of the electrical activation time sequence of the various regions of the heart and of the conduction velocity in the different parts of the conduction system. Physiological basis of ECG, relationship between electrical events of cardiac excitation and ECG waves.
Electro-mechanical coupling in the cardiac fiber. Factors that determine the contractile strength of the heart. Length-tension relationship in the cardiac fiber. Cardiac cycle: cardiac, arterial and venous pressure changes. Physiology of the heart valves, heart sounds.
Mechanisms that allow the modification of cardiac output. Control of heart rate and systolic output.
Arterial system function. Arterial compliance. Factors that determine mean arterial pressure. Pulse arterial pressure. Determination of blood pressure and practical exercise.

Physiology of the microcirculation and lymphatic circulation. Mechanisms underlying the exchanges between blood and interstitial fluid.
Metabolic, humoral and nervous mechanisms that allow the regulation of blood flow in the various circulatory districts. Blood pressure regulation mechanisms in the short, medium and long term. Reflex, baroceptive mechanisms.

Respiratory system physiology: Lung volume modification mechanisms, air movements and pressures that determine it. Intrapleural pressure. Elastic retraction of the lung and chest. Surface tension and surfactant. Laplace's law applied to the alveolus. Compliance concept. Changes in compliance in some restrictive pathologies. Airway resistance and neurohumoral regulation. Dynamic compliance and pressure-volume diagram during the respiratory cycle, contribution of elastic and viscous resistances.
Lung volume measurement, spirometer. Anatomical dead space. Respiratory minute volume, pulmonary, alveolar and dead space ventilation. Alveolar-capillary gas exchanges. Composition and partial pressures in atmospheric, inspired and alveolar air. Diffusion of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Law of diffusion and factors affecting the diffusion rate.
Transport of oxygen in the blood. Dissociation curve of oxyhemoglobin, analysis of the curve and its physiological significance. Factors influencing the oxyhemoglobin dissociation curve. Transport of carbon dioxide. Organization and functioning of the respiratory centers, bulbar respiratory center, apneustic and pneumotaxic. Control of ventilation by central and peripheral chemoreceptors.
Physiology of the renal system: Anatomical and functional characteristics of the various components of the nephron.
Renal functions of filtration, reabsorption and secretion.
Characteristics of the glomerular filtration barrier. Factors that determine ultrafiltration. Definition of GFR and inulin clearance, creatinine clearance. Physiological control of glomerular filtration and renal blood flow. Self-regulation of GFR and renal blood flow.
Maximum transport concept. Reabsorption and secretion in the different tracts of the neuron
Glucose: renal threshold for glucose.
Body fluids and kidney function, fluid intake and excretion. Renal mechanisms for dilution and concentration of urine. Actions of ADH on the kidney. Osmotic control of ADH secretion. Renin-angiotensin system, aldosterone.
Defenses against pH variations, buffer systems. Renal control of acid-base balance. Quantification of the acidifying capacity of the kidney: reabsorption of bicarbonate, elimination of ammonium ion.
Gastrointestinal system physiology: electrical activity and contraction mechanisms of the smooth muscle of the gastrointestinal tract. Propulsion-peristalsis-stirring movements "law of the intestine". Nervous and hormonal control of the digestive system. The properties of the myenteric and submucosal plexus. The control operated by the autonomic nervous system.
Chewing and swallowing. Motor functions of the stomach, small intestine and colon. Gastrointestinal reflexes, defecation and vomiting. Mechanisms of salivary, esophageal, gastric, pancreatic, biliary secretion and neuro-hormonal regulation. The enterohepatic recirculation. Digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Fundamental principles of gastrointestinal absorption.

Endocrine system physiology: Hormone-mediated intercellular mechanisms. Mechanisms of hormone secretion and its regulation: nervous, chronotropic and feedback control. The hormones secreted by the hypothalamic nuclei: the release factors. The cells and hormones secreted by the anterior pituitary. Principles of operation and regulation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-endocrine gland axis. The higher centers that regulate the hypothalamic functions.
Thyroid: Thyroid hormones: synthesis, storage, release into the circulation, turnover and transport in the blood. Iodine requirement. Factors regulating secretion and feedback control mechanisms. Shares of the TSH. Actions of thyroid hormones on basal metabolism, on the turnover of glycides, lipids, proteins. Effects on the nervous system. Effects on the cardio-circulatory parameters of the body. Outline of physiopathology.
Adrenal: Glucocorticoids (cortisol). Mechanisms of regulation of cortisol secretion: feedback control, secretion rhythms, circadian rhythm. Biological actions of ACTH. Actions of cortisol on metabolism, anti-insulin effects, actions on muscle, bone and connective tissue, actions on the nervous system, anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive actions.
Insulin: insulin-mediated cellular glucose transport mechanisms: actions on glucose transporters. Mechanisms of insulin secretion: role of ATP-sensitive potassium channels and calcium channels. Nervous regulation of insulin secretion. Feedback regulation mechanisms between insulin and nutrients. Actions of insulin on muscle, adipose and hepatic tissue.
Growth hormone (GH). Structure and mechanisms of regulation of GH secretion. Role of somatostatin. Rhythms of secretion, circadian rhythm, changes with age. Somatomedins or IGFs. Biological actions of GH. Outline of physiopathology.
Parathyroid hormone (PTH). Structure and mechanisms of regulation of PTH secretion. Biological actions.
Cortisol. Mechanisms of regulation of cortisol secretion. Biological actions.
Digestive System Physiology:
Functional anatomy of the gastrointestinal system
Structure of the digestive tract: layers of the wall
Nervous control of the gastrointestinal system
Gastrointestinal motility
Motility of the oral cavity of the digestive system
Motility of the esophagus
Gastric motility
Intestinal motility
The digestion of food
The salivary glands
Gastric secretion
The gastric mucosal barrier
Stages of gastric function
Stages of intestinal function
Pancreatic secretion
The liver
Absorption of nutrients in the small intestine
Secretion, absorption and digestion in the large intestine
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