cod. 1007471

Academic year 2022/23
3° year of course - First semester
Professor responsible for the course unit
integrated course unit
11 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

Once completed the Course, the Student will have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the etio-pathogenetic factors underlying the basic structural and functional alterations in humans, and the relative response mechanisms, at the different levels of integration (molecules, cells, tissues, organisms).
Students are also expected to be able to apply this knowledge, integrated with information from previous Courses, to the comprehension of the pathophysiology of common human pathologies.
Moreover, the student will be able to consider medical information in an historical perspective.


Mandatory previous examinations are identified by the Council of the Medical school. Adequate bases of chemistry, cytology/histology, anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, immunology, oncology and physiology are required.

Course unit content

The Course will provide scientific bases to the practice of medicine, defined as the capability to identify clinical conditions affecting human beings and to promote preventive or therapeutic to implement individual and community health. The Course will concern:
- Cell Pathology
- Molecular Pathology
- Tissue responses to cell injury: inflammation, hemostasis, repair
- General pathophysiology.
The Course will be integrated by lectures concerning the history of medicine.

Full programme


- Monogenic Mendelian disease (with relevant examples)
* autosomic dominant
* autosomic recessive
* X-linked
- Monogenic non-mendelian diseases (with examples)
- Polygenic multifactorial diseases (with examples)
- Chromosomal alterations
- Disorders of gene expression and phenotypic effects of mutations
- Examples of protein disorders
*structural proteins
* hemoglobinopathies and thalassemias
* channels and transporters
* hormones and receptors

- Cell damage: reversible vs. irreversible
- Protein misfolding: ER stress and UPR
- Intracellular accumulations: protein accumulation, steatosis, lysosomal diseases
- Extracellular accumulations: amyloidosis
- Oxidative stress and the cell response
- Biotransformations
- Ethanol toxicity
- Ischemic and hypoxic stress. Cell and tissue adaptation to hypoxic-ischemic stress
- Types, biological significance and mechanisms of cell death
- Cell aging, organism aging and progeroid syndromes

- Hemostatic mechanisms
- Hemorrhagic disease
- Thrombosis (mechanisms, Virchow's factors, evolution and consequences)
- Embolia (concept, types, consequences)
- Infarction
- Innate immunity and inflammation triggering
- Acute inflammation: phenomena, cells, mediators, types
- The inflammatory exudate (mechanism of formation, types)
- Mediators of the inflammatory response (exogenous vs. endogenous; cellular vs. plasmatic; preformed vs. neosynthesized; the complement system; the kinine system; histamine; eicosanoids; the cytokines; nitric oxide; antiinflammatory mediators)
- The resolution of the acute inflammatory response
- Chronic inflammation (the infiltrate, mechanisms, cells, evolution)
- Inflammatory lesions: abscesses, ulcerae, granulomas
- Systemic phenomena in inflammation (leukocytosis, acute phase response, the inflammatory stress, metabolic changes)
- Fever
- Defects of the inflammatory response
- Autoinflammatory diseases
- Mechanisms of tissue repair
- Derangements of tissue repair mechanisms
- Fibrosis
- Atherosclerosis

- Osmotic and Volume disorders: * pathophysiology of water and sodium
* Pathogensis of edema
* Hypovolemia and shock
* Hypernatremia and hyponatremia.
* Disorders of potassium homeostasis: hyperpotassemia and hypopotassemia.
* Acid-base
disorders: acidosis and alkalosis.
* Disorders of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium.
- Endocrine disorders
* Endocrine defects (hormone deficits, receptor defects, post-receptorial defects)
*Endocrine hyperactivities (hormone excess, receptor hyperactivity, excess of signal transduction)
- Pathophysiology of metabolism:
*Alterations of purine metabolism
* Alterations of lipid metabolism
* Diabetes Mellitus: etiologic factors, types, pathophysiology of metabolic alterations and complications
* Porphiries and jaundice
* Iron and copper. Iron deficiency and overload.
* Aminoacidopathies (
Hyperphenylalaninemias, Urea cycle defects, Hyperomocysteinemia)
* Inherited disorders of carbohydrate metabolism (glycogenoses, fructose intolerance, galactosemia)
* Disorders of Fatty Acid Oxydation
* Inherited disorders of nutrient ransporters (defects of glucose transporters, cystinuria)
- Pathophysiology of nutrition.
* Hypovitaminosis and hypervitaminosis

- The origins: before Greeks
- Greece and Rome
- Outside the Mediterranean sea: India and China
- Middle Ages: plagues, hospitals, universities
- The modern age: the anatomical revolution and the rise of physiology
- XIX and XX centuries: from the illuminism to the molecular revolution
- XXI century: Technologies and perspectives
Specific subjects:
- New and old diseases
- The Black Death
- Virchow and the origin of experimental medicine


- Kumar, Abbas, Fausto, Aster (Eds). Robbins e Cotran – Pathologic Basis of Disease - Elsevier Masson, 2021 (2 vol. + review text)

- Mainiero, Misasi, Sorice (Eds.) Patologia Generale e Fisiopatologia Generale,
2 vol. VI edizione
Piccin, 2019.

Altucci, Berton, Moncharmont, Stivala (Eds.)
Patologia e Fisiopatologia Generale, 2 vol.
Ildeson-Gnocchi, 2018

Harrison's: Principles of Internal Medicine. McGraw-Hill Ed., 21st ed, 2022

McCance, Huether, Brashers, Rote Fisiopatologia ed elementi di Patologia Generale
EDRA-Masson, 2016

Storia della medicina e della sanita` in Italia-Laterza, 2004.

L'arte lunga. Storia della medicina dall'antichità a oggi
Laterza, 2011

Storia e teorie della salute e della malattia Carocci, 2014

Additional references will be suggested during the lectures.

Teaching methods

Lessons will be on site in compliance with safety standards, provided that further instructions on the ongoing health emergency are not implemented.
Lectures will be interactive and will be carried on through a dialogue between the teacher and the students. Examples of true-life situations and clinical cases will be also provided so as to raise the interest of the students.
Supporting didactic material will be available on the specific, student-reserved platform (Elly) and will include slide presentations and audio-video aids.
Slide consultation will be necessary but NOT sufficient for students preparation.

Assessment methods and criteria

No interim summative evaluation is scheduled, while valutative or diagnostic evaluations will be possible.
The final summative evaluation will consist in an oral examination, integrated by a powerpoint presentation on a subject concerning history of medicine, which will be also discussed and evaluated during the oral examination. Failure to forward the presentation of history of medicine at least 10d before the oral examination or insufficient quality of the presentation will prevent the success of the oral examination.
In case of the persistence of the health emergency, the exams will be conducted remotely, as follows:
remote oral questions, through the Teams platform (guide
Students with SLD / BSE must first contact Le Eli-che: support for students with disabilities, D.S.A., B.E.S. (

For Pathology/Pathophysiology the oral examination will consist of 2 questions/student (from two different examiners). Each question will concern a pathologic process enlisted in the detailed program. The examiner will enunciate the process, using a subject enlisted in the program, or will delineate a situation of clinical relevance in which a pathologic process is clearly involved.
In the first case, the candidate shall provide the definition of the process and will discuss causes, mechanisms and involvement in human pathology with the examiner.
In the second case, the candidate shall identify the process involved in the clinical situation and will discuss it with the examiner.
Failure to answer to one of the two questions, or the verified uncapability to define or identifying correctly the pathologic process, will prevent the successful completion of the exam.
The outcome will be also negative if, during the discussion, the student will exhibit severe pitfalls, not compatible with an adequate understanding of the subject.
After each question, the examiner will give an evaluation expressed in marks:
A. Very good knowledge and understanding. Very good capability of
applying knowledge to bio-medical problems. Corresponding to 30/30.
B. Good knowledge and understanding. Good capability to apply knowledge to biomedical problems. Corresponding to 27-29/30.
C. Average knowledge and understanding. Average capability of applying knowledge to bio-medical problems. Corresponding to 24-26/30
D. Sufficient knowledge and understanding. Sufficient capability of
applying information to bio-medical problems. Corresponding to 21-23/30.
E. Barely sufficient knowledge and understanding (with evident pitfalls).
Scarce capability of applying knowledge to bio-medical problems.
Corresponding to 18-20/30.
The final vote will be decided jointly by the examiners, taking into account the evaluation of the presentation of History of Medicine. The Committee will have the possibility to decide a vote not higher or lower than three grades from the best or the worst vote derived from the mean of the two individual votes.
Full marks with laude will be reserved to students exhibiting, together with an
overall evaluation of 30/30, good communication skills and capability of autonomous in depth-analysis of the subject.

Other information

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