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CODE 67062
  • 5 cfu during the 3nd year of 8762 SCIENZE BIOLOGICHE (L-13) - GENOVA
    LANGUAGE Italian
  • SEMESTER 1° Semester
    You can take the exam for this unit if you passed the following exam(s):
    • Biological Sciences 8762 (coorte 2020/2021)
    MODULES This unit is a module of:



    The aims are to provide an advanced understanding of the fundamental notions and topics of general physiology through knowing the laws and mechanisms by which cell components play their function. Basic notions will allow the study of the main physiological organs and systems of animal body. Laboratory experience aims to integrate the contents of the frontal lessons through the use of experimental models allowing the observation of the theoretical concepts and the learning of experimental methods to assess physiological parameters.


    Participation in training activities (lectures and laboratory) will enable the students of the Course in Biological Sciences to acquire general knowledge and fundamental notions of Physiology that are necessary for the professional opportunities in the field of Biological Sciences. The course aims to provide a complete vision of the general Physiology, starting from the functioning mechanisms of the cell, up to the integrated Physiology. The cellular aspects of the first part are necessary to understand the Physiology of the organs and systems that will be dealt with in the second, both from a comparative and human point of view, with particular regard to the mechanisms of regulation and maintenance of homeostasis.

    The student must be able to:

    • To know the basic mechanisms of the main physiological processes;

    • To know the basics of Molecular and Cellular Physiology;

    • To acquire the basic methods for the evaluation of physiological parameters and markers of cellular fractions;

    • To understand the link between structure and function at different levels of the organization of living matter from molecules to the integrated system;

    • To understand the main physiological systems and know the mechanisms by which the different cell types play their function and regulate the activity of the various tissues and organs.

    Acquired skills: The student must acquire a general view of the physiological mechanisms, from the molecular-cellular level up to that of organs and systems. In particular, the student will have to understand mechanisms of regulation allowing the different systems to work in a coordinated way within the organism, maintaining the state of health. The theoretical-practical activities are aimed at getting the student to become familiar with the experimental procedures and the use of instruments typical of a Physiology laboratory. The skills acquired will allow an adequate understanding of the international publications on General Physiology, the understanding of a laboratory protocol and its implementation.


    The teaching mode includes 2-hour frontal lessons each provided through multimedia presentations. Frequency is strongly recommended.

    Please refer to the classroom-specific instance of the teaching for any updates due to changes in the health and epidemiological situation.

    The laboratory exercises are aimed at the deepening of some theoretical knowledge acquired during the lectures and the application of some of the main methodologies for the determination of physiological parameters. The exercises will be carried out in fully-equipped laboratories of the DISTAV


    Blood. Plasma and corpuscular elements. Plasma proteins. Red blood cells: transport of gas; oxygen-hemoglobin association / dissociation curves; catabolism of hemoglobin. Platelets and hemostasis. Blood groups. Rh factor.

    Cardiovascular physiology. structure and function of the cardiovascular system in vertebrates (short overview of invertebrates); the heart as a pump (electrical and mechanical activity of the heart). Blood vessels: role of arteries, arterioles, capillaries and veins. Blood pressure. Capillary exchanges. Regulation and adaptations of the cardiovascular system. Heart: anatomical and functional aspects. Electric cardiac activity: the potential pacemaker. Mechanical properties of the heart. The cardiac cycle. Heart rate. The cardiac output and the principle of Starling.

    Physiology of the digestive system.  Anatomo-functional organization of the digestive system. Oral digestion. Gastric digestion and stomach functions. Intestinal digestion: composition, secretion and functions of pancreatic juice. Intestinal absorption: mechanisms of absorption of nutrients, water, electrolytes, vitamins. Liver functions. Components and bile formation. Concepts of energy balance and metabolism.

    Endocrine system and function control: autocrine, paracrine and endocrine communication. Chemical and functional classification of hormones. Synthesis and transport in the blood. Hypothalamic-hypophysis axis. Adenohypophysis and neurohypophysis. Hormone receptors and their activation. Nature and mechanisms of action of hormones. The endocrine system of Vertebrates.

    Renal physiology: elements of renal function and morpho-functional organization. The nephron: filtration, reabsorption and secretion. Urinary excretion. Water and salt balance.

    Acid-Base Balance: Acid-base balance of extracellular compartments: blood pH values ​​in vertebrates, buffer power of plasma proteins, hemoglobin buffer power, buffer power of mineral elements, importance of bicarbonate / carbonic acid system. Role of the respiratory system and kidney in the base acid balance.

    Thermal relations between animals and the environment: Ambient temperature and vital functions. Temperature and biological activity of macromolecules (eg of lactic dehydrogenase and acetylcholinesterase). Role of heat stress proteins (HSP). Thermal exchanges between animals and the environment. Thermal inertia. Thermal neutrality. Body Temperature Adjustment: thermoregulators and thermoconforms. Thermoregulation mechanism. Classification of animals based on body temperature: homeotherms, pecilotherms, heterothermals.


    Laboratory Experience: Experiments of contraction of skeletal muscle fiber as a function of ATP concentration and data  analysis. Experiments for color determination, pH, specific weight, glucose and proteins on synthetic urine. Determination of the ABO group and Rh factor with synthetic blood.



    Dee U. Silverthorn “Fisiologia Umana” - Pearson

    C.L. Stanfield “Fisiologia” - EdiSES

    L. Sherwood “Fondamenti di Fisiologia Umana” - PICCIN

    M. Berne & M.N. Levy “Fisiologia” - Casa Editrice Ambrosiana


    A disposizione su Aula WEB materiale didattico fornito dai docenti.


    Exam Board

    ELENA GRASSELLI (President)

    LAURA VERGANI (President)


    ILARIA DEMORI (Substitute)



    Lessons  will take place in the first semester

    For lessons start and timetable go to the link:

    Please check the module Aulaweb page for timetable updates dependent on the sanitary and epidemic situation.


    Class schedule




    Preliminary multi-test and oral test.

    Admission to the oral exam takes place after passing a written test with 30 multi-choice questions (at least 2/3 of the correct answers). The result of the test does not influence the final mark. The examination procedure for the assessment of the achievement by the student of the objectives set will take place with an oral examination, and will always be conducted by a commission consisting of at least two tenured teachers (or in cases limited by a tenured professor and a lecturer of the subject designated by the CCS) and lasts at least 30 minutes. The Commission, appointed in this way, is able to verify with high accuracy the achievement of the educational objectives of the teaching.

    The final mark will be decided considering the achievement of the specific objectives of the two modules.


    Please refer to the classroom-specific instance of the teaching for any updates due to changes in the health and epidemiological situation.

    At least 3 calls will be available in the winter session (January-February) and 3 calls in the summer session (June, July, September).


    Details on how to prepare for the exam and the degree of detail required for each topic will be provided at the beginning of the course and reiterated during lectures and lab activities.

    Admission to the oral exam takes place after passing a written test with 30 multi-choice questions.

    The oral examination will focus mainly on the topics covered during the lectures and will have the purpose of assessing the achievement of the appropriate level of knowledge. The Commission accurately verifies the achievement of the educational objectives of the teaching by asking different questions related to the program actually carried out during the lessons of the course. For the final evaluation of the student the commission will evaluate the following requirements: level of knowledge of the topics covered by the questions, exposure skills, ability to reason and link with other topics of the course. In the event that the training objectives are not achieved, the student is invited to better verify his / her knowledge and possibly to make use of further explanations by contacting the teacher in charge of the course.

    Exam schedule

    Date Time Location Type Notes
    25/01/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
    25/01/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
    15/02/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
    15/02/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
    14/06/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
    05/07/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
    20/07/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
    13/09/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale