cod. 1010502

Anno accademico 2023/24
1° anno di corso - Primo semestre
Settore scientifico disciplinare
Biochimica (BIO/10)
Scienze biomediche
Tipologia attività formativa
28 ore
di attività frontali
4 crediti
sede: -

Obiettivi formativi

- Knowledge and understanding of the chemical and structural properties of the major molecules of biological interest;
- knowledge of the fundamentals of cellular energy metabolism;
- knowledge of the fundamentals of enzymatic catalysis, its regulation, and major metabolic pathways.



Contenuti dell'insegnamento

After a brief introduction to the basic principles of Organic Chemistry, the main molecules of biological systems will be presented: carbohydrates,
lipids, proteins and nucleic acids, and ATP as energy carrier. In the second section main subject will be General and Metabolic Biochemistry with particular emphasis on bioenergetics, red-ox biological reactions, and cell metabolism. The last part deals with the dental biochemistry.

Programma esteso

** General Chemistry Concepts
Definition of solution. Self-dissociation of water. Hydrogen bonding. Solubility. Osmotic pressure. Concept of pH. Definition of strength of acids and bases. Acid-base dissociation equilibria. Ka and Kb. Buffer solutions. Poorly soluble salts. Ionic and solubility product. Apatite of dental enamel.

** Enzymology
Enzymes. Apoenzyme, cofactors and coenzymes. Enzyme-substrate complex. Activation energy. Enzyme kinetics. Michaelis-Menten equation. Regulation of enzyme activity. Allosterism. Isoenzyme.

** Carbohydrates
Monosaccharides. Glycosidic bonding. Disaccharides. Polysaccharides. Glycosaminoglycans and proteoglycans. Starch. Glycogen. Cellulose. Natural and synthetic sweeteners.

** Nucleotides and nucleic acids
Nitrogenous bases and pentoses. Phosphodiester bonding. Structure of nucleic acids. Nucleotides with energetic and regulatory functions. Adenosine-containing cofactors.

** Amino acids and proteins.
Structure of amino acids. Peptide bonding. The four structural levels of proteins. Structural motifs. Alpha-keratin and collagen. Conjugated proteins. Salivary nonenzymatic proteins.

** Lipids
Saturated, unsaturated and essential fatty acids. Triglycerides. Structural lipids. Phospholipids. Glycolipids. Signal lipids. Cholesterol. Prostaglandins. Leukotrienes. Fat-soluble vitamins.

** Glucose metabolism
Starch digestion. Salivary and pancreatic amylase. Aerobic and anaerobic glycolysis. Energy yield of glycolysis. Regulation of glycolysis. Glycogen. Bacterial fermentation. Effects of fluoride on dental plaque metabolism.

** Oxidative phosphorylation and Krebs cycle
Pyruvate oxidation. Krebs cycle reactions. Respiratory chain and electron flow. ATP synthase and synthesis of ATP.

** Hormones
Autocrine, paracrine and endocrine signals. Classification and structure. Hints on cell receptors and hormonal regulation of energy metabolism.

** Vitamins
Role of water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins in metabolic processes. Vitamins important for oral health and nutrition.

** Dental biochemistry
Bone Mineralization. Hydroxyapatite and biological apatite. Fluoride ion. Fluorhydroxyapatite and fluorapatite. Ionic solubility product of calcium and phosphate salts. Dental calculi. Dental erosion. Enamel film. Dentin. Cementum. Bacterial wall. Peptidoglycan. Teichoic acids and lipopolysaccharides. Changes in pH and metabolism of dental plaque. Role of bacteria in calcification. Biochemical Basis of Dental Caries. Saliva Biochemistry.


D.L. Nelson, M.M. Cox: Lehninger principles of biochemistry, Macmillan Learning, 2021 edition

Metodi didattici

The course will be held through lectures to Students in the classroom.
Lectures will be supported by slide presentations, which will be available to students on Elly platform (

Modalità verifica apprendimento

The assessment of the achievement of the objectives of the module includes a written exam, consisting of multiple choice quizzes and open questions. The knowledge and understanding of the contents by the students will be assessed through questions on the topics of the whole module. Through the resolution of problems the students ability to apply the acquired knowledge will be assessed. The final valuation will give more weight to the open questions.

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