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CODE 104198
SEMESTER 2° Semester
Propedeuticità in uscita
Questo insegnamento è propedeutico per gli insegnamenti:
  • APPLIED AND EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY 11158 (coorte 2023/2024)
  • HUMAN PHYSIOLOGY 104198 2023


The teaching of Human Physiology supplies the fundamental notions to understand the functioning of the physiological systems that regulate the vegetative life,d their dynamic integration in maintaining the homeostasis of the human organism and its alterations in relation to human health.



The teaching of Human Physiology aims to provide the student with an overview of the functional processes that take place in the human body to understand how they operate in an integrated system. Particular attention will be paid to the mechanisms involved in the integration of systems and functions throughout the organism in relation to human health and to the maintenance of the body's homeostasis. The teaching provided will allow a better and more complete understanding of the functioning of the human body that will find applications in many aspects of the profession of the biologist.


The aims are to develop a training based on a 'student-centered' teaching in order to provide the student with a thorough knowledge of Human Physiology. In particular, the teaching aims to achieve the following objectives:

• Learning of the functioning of the main systems that supervise vegetative life and their integration in maintaining the body's homeostasis;

• Ability to interpret the main functional parameters in healthy men.

The fundamental notions of Human Physiology that will be provided will be useful for professional opportunities in the field of Biological Sciences.


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.



Synaptic transmission and signal integration. Neurotransmitters: classification, Nt exciters and inhibitors. Ionotropic and metabotropic receptors. Retrograde messengers. Synaptic currents and post-synaptic potentials: excitatory synapses and inhibitory synapses. Synaptic integration. Spatial and temporal summation. Inversion potential. Mechanisms of regulation of synaptic transmission. Cellular basis of synaptic plasticity (habituation, sensitization, potentiation, depression). Synaptic learning: presynaptic and postsynaptic learning. Synaptic transmission disorders.

Cortical electrical activity and electroencephalogram (ECG). Electrophysiological basis and recording technique of the EEG. Characteristics of the physiological EEG trace. The pathological EEG. Epilepsy.

The sleep-wake cycle. Ontogenesis and phylogeny of sleep. Sleep phases: slow sleep and REM sleep. Neurophysiological and vegetative characteristics of slow sleep and REM sleep. The awakening. Dreamlike activity. Pathophysiology of sleep.


Sensory receptors. Receptor potential and generator potential. Transduction. Amplitude and frequency coding. Receptor threshold. Saturation. Adaptation: tonicity and phasicity. Receptive camps. Lateral inhibition. Psychophysics of perception. Sensory modalities. Adequate stimulation. Organization of the sensory system classification of sensory systems. Mechanoreceptors. Proprioceptors: neuromuscular spindles: structure, transduction mechanism, innervation, role of gamma innervation. Thermoreceptors: afferent fibers and hypothalamic central regulation; production control / heat loss; fever and hyperthermia. Nociceptors: characterization of nociceptors; nociceptive pathways; outline of medicine and pain therapy.


Liver anatomy and architecture. The hepatic lobule. Hepatic portal circulation. Cellular types of the liver and their functions: hepatocytes, sinusoidal endothelial cells, Kupffer cells, stellate cells. Role of the liver in the metabolic homeostasis of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins. Liver and hematopoiesis. Detoxifying function of the liver. Bile formation and secretion; synthesis, catabolism and excretion of bilirubin; jaundice. Liver and liver damage (degeneration, necrosis, inflammation, regeneration and fibrosis). Hepatic function: physiological conditions and metabolic alterations. Partial hepatectomy and liver regeneration: activation of early and late events. Responses to acute and chronic liver damage. Metabolic syndrome. Alcoholic (AFLD) and non-alcoholic (NAFLD) hepatic steatosis.


Characteristics of the endocrine system. Autocrine, paracrine and endocrine transmission. Chemical classification of hormones. Biosynthesis, storage, release and plasma transport of hormones. Mechanisms of action of hormones: hormone-receptor interaction, post-receptor transduction and biological effects of the various classes of hormones. Inactivation, catabolism and hormone excretion. Hormone secretion control mechanisms: long, short feed-back. Secretory rhythms. The hypothalamic-pituitary system. Hypothalamus. Neuroendocrine functions. Hypothalamic-pituitary portal system. Hypothalamic neurosecretion (releasing-RH and inhibiting-IH hormones). Pituitary gland. Neurohypophysis: oxytocin and antidiuretic hormone. Adenohypophysis. trophic and metabolic actions of the pituitary tropins. Epiphysis: melatonin secretion and circadian rhythms. Peripheral endocrine glands: Thyroid: anatomy of the thyroid and thyroid hormones. Biosynthesis, secretion control, effects on the metabolism and growth of thyroid Mormons. Pathophysiology of the thyroid: hypo- and hyper-thyroidism. Endocrine pancreas: Anatomo-functional organization of the Langerhans islands. Pancreatic hormones: insulin, glucagon, somatostatin and pancreatic polypeptide. Insulin. biosynthesis, secretion control, metabolic effects on different target tissues, growth effect. Glucagon: secretion control, metabolic effects in various tissues, synergy with other hyperglycemic hormones. Gastrointestinal hormones.

Regulation of glucose metabolism and glucose homeostasis. Hyperglicemia, metabolic syndrome, fatty liver and NAFLD (non alcoholic fatty liver disease),.

Integrated control of energy metabolism. Integrated control of intermediate resting metabolism. Basal metabolism, rest and during exercise. Energy sources: alactacid, glycolytic and aerobic lactacid mechanism. Caloric value of food. . Role of the adrenal medulla: adrenaline and norepinephrine. Synthesis, storage, secretion and catabolism of catecholamines. Regulation of secretion: cholinergic preganglionic control and cortical steroid action. Metabolic and sympathomimetic actions of circulating catecholamines.

Integrated body weight control: Hunger / satiety control systems. Hypothalamic Arcuate Nucleus: orexinergic and anorexinergic neurons.  Control of feeding behavior. Adipose tissue and adipokines: leptin, adiponectin and resistin. Gastric / intestinal hormones: Ghrelin, Coleocystokinin, PYY3, GLP-1. Stress and obesity: cortisol, catecholamines, serotonin.

Integrated growth control. Somatotropic hormone: secretion control, somatomedine, direct and indirect effects. Interaction with others. Dwarfism and gigantism. Growth periods. 

Integrated control of serum calcium. Calcemia, calcium (and phosphate) balance, calcium absorption / reabsorption. Bone physiology: osteosynthesis and osteolysis. Bone metabolism. Parathyroid hormone, calcitriol and calcitonin. Calcium homeostasis and vitamin D. Integrated control of calcium and phosphate metabolism and the exchange of bone tissue. Functional role of calcium and phosphate in extracellular fluid..

Integrated stress response. Stress definition, stress phases. Adrenaline: biosynthesis, adrenergic receptors, metabolic effects. Cortisol: secretion control, metabolic effects, other effects.


Platelets and hemostasis.

Lipid metabolism. Plasma lipoprotein complexes. High and low density lipoproteins (HDL and LDL) and receptors. Lipedmia and dyslipidemia. Cholesterolemia and hypercholesterolaemia. Stages of development of an atheromatous plaque and changes in physiological circulation.  Blood flow and changes in the vascular endothelium. Diet and  hypercholesterolemia, hypertension and atherosclerosis.




Dee U. Silverthorn “Fisiologia Umana” - Pearson

L. Sherwood “Fondamenti di Fisiologia Umana” - PICCIN


Didactic material provided by the teacher is available on the WEB Classroom.


Exam Board



FRANCESCA BALDINI (President Substitute)



Lessons  will take place in the second 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




Oral.  The examination procedure to assess the achievement of the objectives will take place with an oral examination, and is 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 has a duration of at least 20 minutes. The Commission, appointed in this way, is able to verify with high accuracy the achievement of the educational objectives of the teaching. 

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

At least 2 exams will be available in the winter session (January-February) and 4 exams in the summer session (June, July, September).


During the examination 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. For the final evaluation of the student the commission evaluates the following requirements: level of knowledge of the topics covered by the questions, exposure skills, ability to reason and link with other topics. 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.

Exam schedule

Data Ora Luogo Degree type Note
25/01/2024 09:00 GENOVA Orale
15/02/2024 09:00 GENOVA Orale
02/04/2024 09:00 GENOVA Orale
13/06/2024 09:00 GENOVA Orale
04/07/2024 09:00 GENOVA Orale
25/07/2024 09:00 GENOVA Orale
12/09/2024 09:00 GENOVA Orale