cod. 18159

Academic year 2023/24
2° year of course - Second semester
- Marzio GERBELLA - Giuseppe LUPPINO
Academic discipline
Fisiologia (BIO/09)
Funzioni biologiche integrate di organi, sistemi e apparati umani
Type of training activity
90 hours
of face-to-face activities
9 credits
hub: -
course unit

Integrated course unit module: PHYSIOLOGY

Learning objectives

The knowledge of the functional mechanisms of the human organs and apparati addressed during the course, the knowledge of their dynamic integration and the general mechanisms of functional control in normal conditions and in particular pathological conditions.


Students must possess basic and fundamental notions of Anatomy, cell and tissue biology and biochemistry of the organs and systems which are the topic of this part of the course.

Course unit content

Physiology of the body fluids
Renal physiology
Acid-base balance
Metabolism: direct and indirect methods of calorimetry.
Physiology of the muscular exercise
Reproductive system

Full programme

General anatomic and functional organization of the nervous system
Hierarchical and parallel organization of the central nervous system; sensory-motor integration; models of neural circuits; organization of the cerebral cortex: Methos for the study of the nervous system.
Integrative neurophysiology
Anatomical and functional organization of the spinal cord; Spinal reflexes; Spinal shock; descending motor pathways; anatomical and functional organization of the brainstem; motor functions of the brainstem; decerebrate rigidity; vestibular apparatus and vestibular reflexes; control of posture.
Sensory systems: principles of sensory physiology; receptors and transduction; somesthetic functions: peripheral and central mechanisms; Pain: classification, peripheral and central mechanisms; peripheral and central mechanisms of pain control. Vision: psychophysic, retina, visual pathways, visual pathways lesions, primary visual cortex, extrastriate visual areas, dorsal and ventral visual pathways, stereopsis. Auditory system: psychophysic, peripheral and central mechanisma of auditory stimuli analysis. Cortical motor control: motor and premotor cortex, posterior parietal cortex, parieto-frontal circuits. Oculomotor control. Cerebellum: anatomical and functional organization, cerebellar syndrome. Basal ganglia: anatomical and functional organization, basal ganglia lesions. Cerebral plasticity. Learning and memory; Hemispheric dominance; Language; Emotions; Sleep; EEG; Vegetative nervous system

The energy balance. Units of measure of the energy metabolism. Thermodynamic considerations.
Direct and indirect calorimetry. The caloric equivalent for oxygen. Basal and total metabolic rate. Caloric consumption from protein metabolism. Caloric values of food substances. The isodynamic Law of food substances. Thermogenic actions of food substances. Hormonal control of metabolism. Fasting.

Ergometry. Oxygen consumption during exercise. Respiratory quotient.
Metabolic costs during physical activity. Concept of mechanical and chemical efficiency. Energy costs and efficiency during different physical activities. Internal and external work. Analysis of the aerobic and anaerobic muscular power. Modifications of the physiological parameters during the exercise: neuro-hormonal responses. Metabolic pathways during the physical exercise. The lactate during the anaerobic exercise. The oxygen debt (Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, EPOC).Effect of training on physical activities.

The body fluids. Body water and its subdivision. Intracellular and extracellular fluids. Measurement of body fluid compartments. Units for measuring solute concentration. Measurement of total electrolyte content of body fluids. Osmolality and isotonicity. Analysis of plasma osmolality and its relationship with plasma sodium concentration. Sodium and potassium balance and consequences of their plasma concentrations. Colloid-osmotic pressure. Donnan equilibrium. Capillary exchange. Regulation of plasma calcium and phosphorus concentration.

Renal functions: filtration, reabsorption and excretion. Calculation of filtered, excreted and reabsorbed load. Glomerular filtration (GFR). Properties of the glomerular filtration barrier. Forces involved in filtration. Concept of renal clearance. Measurement of GFR, clearance of inuline and creatinine. The renal blood flow (RBF). The para-amino-hippurate clearance. Calculation of the filtration fraction. Physiological control of GFR and RBF. Mechanism of tubular reabsorption and secretion. Regulation of the tubular reabsorption and excretion. The excretion fraction. The countercurrent multiplication. Quantification of urinary concentration and dilution. Osmolar and free water clearance. The antidiuretic hormone. Renal treatment of glucose, sodium, potassium, chloride, bicarbonate, hydrogen ions, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, organic cations, and anions. The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. Mineralcorticoid escape. Quantification of the hydrogen ions in urine.

ACID-BASE BALANCE (Roberto Tirindelli)
Buffers and their action mechanisms. Titration curves. The acid-base buffer system of the body. pH calculation. Titration curve of the bicarbonate and blood buffer system. The pH-bicarbonate diagram. Base deficit and excess. Renal, respiratory and hormonal control of the acid-base equilibrium. Acidosis and alkalosis. Anionic gap. Hyperbarism. Hypobarism.

Sexual differentiation. Puberty. Female and male reproductive system physiology. Effects of estrogen and progesterone. Menstrual cycle events. Physiology of pregnancy. Breastfeeding physiology. Physiology of childbirth and the unborn child.


FISIOLOGIA MEDICA a cura di Fiorenzo Conti, Ed. Edi-Ermes
FISIOLOGIA, Berne Levy, Casa editrice Ambrosiana;
Dale Dubin, Interpretazione dell’ECG. Monduzzi, 2008.

Slides disponibili online.

Teaching methods

Oral lessons with Powerpoint presentation.
Before each new lesson, the teacher will first summarise then check whether the previous topics have been well understood through an interactive discussion with the students.

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral examination
Students with SLD / BSE must first contact Le Eli-che: support for students with disabilities, D.S.A., B.E.S. (

Other information