cod. 03033

Academic year 2023/24
4° year of course - First semester
Academic discipline
Farmacologia (BIO/14)
Discipline biologiche e farmacologiche
Type of training activity
72 hours
of face-to-face activities
9 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

At the end of the course in TOXICOLOGY, the student will be able to:
1. Know and understand the basic concepts of toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics, the toxicokinetic and toxicodynamic properties of the main classes of xenobiotics and the general principles of the process of risk management (knowledge and understanding).
2. Apply the acquired knowledge to classify xenobiotics on the basis of the mechanism of action and to evaluate the risk-benefit relationship for xenobiotics, in general, and for drugs, in particular (ability to apply knowledge and understanding).
3. Analyze and compare the effects of xenobiotics belonging to the same and different classes and to evaluate independently the results of toxicological risk assessment (making judgements).
4. Connect together the different topics developed during the course and to link them with the related disciplines. To be able to widen the knowledge in toxicology also by browsing the scientific production and databases in the field (ability to learn).
5. Communicate the acquired knowledge and clearly convey the information on the nature and mechanism of action of xenobiotics and on the results of risk assessment (communicative skills).


Basic knowledge of Human Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry. In order to take the exam in Toxicology, the exam in Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy must have been already passed.

Course unit content

The first part of the course will deal with the basic principles of toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics and with the fundamental mechanisms of toxicity of xenobiotics, included genotoxicity, carcinogenesis, and teratogenesis. The variability sources in the individual response to xenobiotics will be illustrated as well. In the following section, the steps of risk management will be described and the methods of experimental toxicology clarified. In the last section of the course, the main classes of xenobiotics will be described and clinical toxicology, food toxicology and drug-drug/drug-food interactions will be briefly outlined.

Full programme

First part:
Toxicokinetics: absorption, distribution, biotransformation, and excretion of xenobiotics.
Toxicodynamics: general mechanisms of specific and aspecific toxicity of xenobiotics.
Sources of individual variability in toxicological, allergic, and idiosyncratic responses.

Second part:
Toxicity testing in experimental animals: general toxicity tests (acute, subacute, chronic studies) and specific toxicity assays (developmental and reproductive toxicity, mutagenicity and carcinogenicity testing).
Quantitative risk assessment for chemical carcinogens and non-carcinogens.

Third part:
Toxicology of environmental toxicants
Toxicology of pesticides
Toxicology of heavy metals
Toxicology of solvents
Clinical toxicology
Food toxicology
Drug interactions


CASARETT & DOULL’S: “Tossicologia: fondamenti dell’azione delle sostanze tossiche”, Ed. EMSI, Roma.
CASARETT & DOULL’S: "Elementi di Tossicologia", Ed. CEA
GOODMAN & GILMAN’S: “Le basi farmacologiche della terapia”
GREIM, DEML: “Tossicologia” Ed. Zanichelli, Bologna.
KATZUNG: “Farmacologia generale e clinica” Ed. Piccin, Padova.

Teaching methods

Frontal lectures with visual support, aided by slides online available on Elly platform, will be performed. During lessons, students will be prompted to remind the notions of human anatomy, physiology and pharmacology needed to better comprehend the presented topics. Moreover, the students will be encouraged to learn and adopt the technical language, to grasp the links among the various presented sections, and to actively participate to the course. The teacher will be available for further clarification by appointment to be scheduled by e-mail.

Assessment methods and criteria

The achievement of the intended learning objectives will be ascertained through a final oral examination consisting of questions regarding the three parts of the course. The exam will be taken according to the exam sessions officially scheduled by Food and Drug Department, after online registration.
The student will have to show the comprehension and the ability to explain, comment on and autonomously interpret the fundamental concepts of each topic. The evaluation of the exam, expressed in thirtieths, will be performed according to the following criteria:
1. Knowledge and understanding of the dealt subjects
2. Making judgements and ability to connect the themes covered during lectures
3. Use of sound technical-scientific language.
Honours will be granted when the dealt topics are known and mastered excellently.
In case the sanitary emergency is prolonged, the exams will be performed remotely, taking advantage of the Teams platform (instructions at
The results of the exam will be immediately communicated and then published on ESSE3 website.

Other information

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