cod. 1009725

Academic year 2024/25
2° year of course - First semester
Academic discipline
Fisiologia (BIO/09)
Funzioni biologiche integrate di organi, sistemi e apparati umani
Type of training activity
120 hours
of face-to-face activities
12 credits
course unit

Learning objectives

1 Knowledge and understanding
The student must be able to describe the vital functions of man, the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the functioning of the various organs and systems and the main processes of integration, regulation and homeostatic control.

2 Applied knowledge and understanding
The student must be able to interpret and understand the possible implications of the knowledge acquired in the clinical field.

3 Autonomy of judgment
The student must develop autonomous skills in understanding functional integrations between different apparatuses under physiological conditions and predict the responses of the organism to its modifications.

4 Communication skills
The student must have a technical language to clearly and unambiguously expose their knowledge of the subject to specialists and non-specialists counterparts.


Knowledge of physics, chemistry/biochemistry, histology, anatomy

Course unit content

The course of Human Physiology is designed to provide students with an understanding of the function, regulation and integration of human body organ systems. The course will present the different organ systems examining the different cellular phenomena as causal of the more complex levels of organization and how separate organs and systems coordinate to maintain homeostatic. Although the course is focused on basic principles of physiology, the presentation of pathophysiology will allow to highlight how disordered functions take part in disease processes

Full programme

Principles of Cell and membrane function. Homeostasis- maintenance of a constant internal environment.
Electrical properties of electrical membrane, properties and mechanism of gating of cell channels

Resting Membrane Potential. Action Potentials. Synaptic Transmission. Neurotransmission.
Skeletal and smooth muscle. Reflexes. Flexion and stretch reflexes. Muscle spindles.
The autonomic nervous system


Cardiac muscle. Rhythmical excitation of the heart. Electrocardiography. Mechanics of the cardiac pump. Intrinsic and extrinsic regulation of cardiac activity. Circulation and vascular system. Microcirculation and lymphatic system. Local control of blood flow and humoral regulation. Nervous regulation of the circulation. Control of blood pressure. Cardiac output, venous return, and their regulation. Coronary circulation. Basics of cardio-circulatory pathophysiology. Composition and function of blood.

Pulmonary ventilation. Pulmonary circulation. Principle of gas transfer and transport. Control of breathing. Respiratory insufficiency. Respiratory mechanisms controlling the acid-base status.

Renal functions: filtration, reabsorption and excretion. Concept of renal clearance. 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.
The body fluids. Regulation of body fluids compartments and electrolyte balance. Acid-base homeostasis.

General principles of gastrointestinal functions. Propulsion and mixing of food in the alimentary tract. Gastrointestinal secretory functions. Digestion and absorption in the gastrointestinal tract. Physiology of gastrointestinal disorder.


Introduction to Endocrinology. Endocrine control mechanisms. Pituitary hormones and hypothalamic control. Thyroid. Adrenal gland. Endocrine pancreas. Endocrine regulation of calcium, phosphate, and bone homeostasis. Male reproductive system. Female reproductive system. Pregnancy and lactation.


Berne & Levy Physiology, 7th Edition, ELSEVIER

Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology 14th Edition, ELSEVIER

Medical Physiology: Principles for Clinical Medicine, Sixth Edition, Rodney A. Rhoades; David R. Bell, Wolters kluwer

Teaching methods

The lectures will be held in presence in compliance with prevention and safety protocols, provided that further instructions on the ongoing health emergency are not implemented. The auxiliary teaching material will be available to students on the Elly platform.
At the end of each major topic, there will be an exercise on several clinical cases (Problem-Based Learning).

Assessment methods and criteria

The exam will be oral. Before the examination, students with DSA/BSE must contact the inclusion centre for students with disabilities, D.S.A., B.E.S. (https:///

Other information

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