First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Science
Course unit
SCP3053437, A.A. 2018/19

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2016/17

Information on the course unit
Degree course First cycle degree in
SC1161, Degree course structure A.Y. 2008/09, A.Y. 2018/19
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 9.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination GENERAL PHYSIOLOGY
Website of the academic structure
Department of reference Department of Biology
E-Learning website
Mandatory attendance
Language of instruction Italian
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge MARIANO BELTRAMINI
Other lecturers PAOLA IRATO BIO/09

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses BIO/09 Physiology 9.0

Course unit organization
Period First semester
Year 3rd Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Laboratory 1.0 16 9.0 No turn
Lecture 8.0 64 136.0 No turn

Start of activities 01/10/2018
End of activities 18/01/2019
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2008 course timetable

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
8 FISIOLOGIA GENERALE 2019-2020 01/10/2019 27/11/2020 IRATO PAOLA (Presidente)
7 FISIOLOGIA GENERALE agosto 2019 01/08/2019 30/11/2019 IRATO PAOLA (Presidente)
6 FISIOLOGIA GENERALE 01/10/2018 31/07/2019 BELTRAMINI MARIANO (Presidente)
IRATO PAOLA (Membro Effettivo)
5 FISIOLOGIA GENERALE 2017/2018 01/10/2017 25/11/2018 BELTRAMINI MARIANO (Presidente)
IRATO PAOLA (Membro Effettivo)

Prerequisites: Essential knowledge comes from biochemistry, cellular biology and histology, animal morphology. In the absence of specific knowledge from previous courses, the teacher will guide students on how to properly prepare.
Target skills and knowledge: The course is organized according to two main themes.
The first one concerns the study of the general mechanisms that underlie functional processes at the level of cells and tissues relative to the exchanges of matter, energy and information. It also provides the basis for understanding the mechanisms of functional integration at the level of exchange surfaces between compartments and their importance in the homeostatic control of the internal environment of animal organisms. It is acquired the knowledge bases to understand the functioning of organs and apparatuses that act in an integrated way at the level of the animal organism system.
1. To be able to describe the processes of exchange of matter, energy and information at the level of single cells and epithelia;
2. To be able to describe the molecular bases that underlie bioelectrical processes and the codification of information through them;
3. To be able to describe the bases of motility at the level of the muscular apparatus in its various structures;
4. To be able to describe the molecular basis of information transfer through chemical signals;
5. To be able to use appropriate terminology;
6. To be able Being to organize scientific reasoning with logical precision.
The second part studies the role of the various organs and systems in the homeostatic control of the internal functional parameters of an organism, and studies the different strategies in an evolutionary and comparative key.
1. To be able to trace the fundamental mechanisms that characterize the functioning of organs and systems;
2. To be able to trace the action / feedback processes that maintain the physiologically balanced state of an organism with respect to the fluctuations of the internal and external environment;
3. To be able to use appropriate terminology;
4. To be able Being to organize scientific reasoning with logical precision.
Examination methods: Written profit verification, with open questions for each block of program topics (see "contents").
Assessment criteria: The answer to each question is evaluated numerically with respect to:
1. Completeness of the acquired knowledge
2. Expressive clarity
3. Consequentiality and logical coherences in the answer
4. Presence of errors.
The total score of the exam results from the sum of the scores reported in the individual answers.
The preparation of a written report on the lab experiments, and its delivery within the indicated times, is a prerequisite for the evaluation of the exam.
Course unit contents: - Unit 1: Physical barriers in biological systems and transport phenomena (10 hrs class, 16 hours lab).
Permeability to anaelectrolytes, electrolytes and water at the level of cell membranes and epithelia: simple diffusional processes, carrier-mediated transport, primary and secondary active transport, ionic channels. Osmosis and water transport, reflection coefficient and solvent flow. Donnan equilibrium.
- Unit 2: Electrical signals (14 hours class).
Compartmentation and selective membrane permeability to electrolytes and bioelectrical potentials: Nernst potential, resting membrane potential (GHK equation). Action potential, properties and molecular bases. Propagation of action potential (unmyelinated and myelinated neurons). Synaptic transmission. Molecular mechanisms of neurotransmitter release. Post-synaptic potentials and synaptic integration. Sensory receptors and sensory transduction.
- Unit 3: Motility (11 hours class).
Excitability and contractility of skeletal, cardiac, smooth muscle tissue. Sarcomere organization, neurogenic excitation of skeletal muscle, coupling between excitement and contraction. Mechanism of the sliding of the sarcomere filaments and tension-length diagram. Tetany and motor unit recruitment. Receptors of tension and neuromuscular fusion. Myocardial myogenic excitation: pacemaker potential and regulation of its activity. Transmission of pacemaker potential and contracting of myocardial fibers. Contraction mechanism of smooth muscle cells, endocrine and nervous control of activity.
- Unit 4: Chemical signals (3 hours class).
Local hormones and messengers. Classification of hormones on a molecular and functional basis. Hormonal correlations and endocrine control of target organ activity. Intracellular signal transduction.
- Unit 5: Internal service and homeostatic control of functional parameters (26 hours class).
The circulatory system as a distribution and connection system. Ionic and osmotic homeostasis (intestine, kidneys, gills and functionally related glands); Gaseous homeostasis: respiration of the skin, gill, pulmonary, tracheal, transport of gas in the dangue, swim bladder; Energy homeostasis; Excretory function and water balance.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Classroom activities include lectures where the contents of the course are dealt with on computer support (powerpoint files). The lessons are organized in order to stimulate the active participation of the students. The case studies considered are discussed with the active contribution of the students. Powerpoint files that are used in class are provided in advance to students through the moodle platform.
In the laboratory part, each student performs his own experiences following guided protocols. Protocols are provided in advance through the moodle platform and are discussed before the experience begins.
At the end of the experiment, each student prepares an individual report in which the experiment is critically evaluated. At the end of the experiment cycle, the results are evaluated overall in the classroom.
Additional notes about suggested reading: All teaching material (powerpoint files of the lectures and laboratory practice protocols) are provided in advance through the moodle (
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • A. Poli, E. Fabbri, C. Agnisola, G.Calamita, G. Santovito, T. Verri, Fisiologia Animale. Napoli: EdiSES, 2018. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Pat Willmer, Graham Stone, Ian Johnston, Fisiologia ambientale degli animali. Bologna: Zanichelli, 2003. Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Laboratory
  • Problem based learning
  • Interactive lecturing
  • Loading of files and pages (web pages, Moodle, ...)

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Quality Education Gender Equality Life Below Water Life on Land