Learning outcomes of the course unit
The overall objective of the course of General Physiology is to provide students with the fundamental
concepts, terms, and tools necessary to identify, describe, and analyse functional properties of living cells and tissues. Special attention is provided to molecular and cellular mechanisms in living cells. Students should be able to understand the complex interrelationship of cells within organs and systems.
It is suggested that students prepare themselves with a deep understanding of mathematics, physics, geneal and inorganic chemistry and organic chemistry.
Course contents summary
The course of General Physiology will cover general functions of cells and tissues with special attention to structure-function relationship. The following topics relating to cells and in particular to excitable cells will be presented: 1Transport across cell membranes. 2 Ions and membrane potentials, diffusion and membrane permeability. 3 Membrane excitability: action potential. 4 Intercellular communication. 5 Neurons and synapses. 6 Sensory transduction. 7. Excitation contraction coupling; molecular basis of contraction.
1) Cell membranes. Ions and membrane potential. Diffusion and membrane permeability. Active transport of sodium and potassium ions. Other carriers. Epithelial transport.
2) Membrane potential. Potentials and the ionic hypothesis. Passive electrical properties of membranes. Experiments on action potentials. Voltage clamp. Effects of fiber geomety.
3) Voltage gated channels and electrical excitability. Na channels. Ca channels. Many K channels. Cl channels. Other channel properties.
4) Transduction of chemical signals. Chemical receptors. Intracellular messengers. G protein coupled receptors. Intracellular Ca.
5) Electrical communication. Neurons. Nervous fibers. Sensory transduction receptors.
6) Transduction. Receptor potential. Stimulus response relation. Adaptation. Photoreceptors. Mechanoreceptors. Thermoreceptors.
7) Spinal reflex actions of muscle, joint and cutaneous receptors. Cytoarchitecture of spinal gray matter. General features of affertent input. Afferent fibers in peripheral nerves. Spinal reflexes, Muscle spindles.
8) Neuromuscular transmission. Excitation contraction coupling in skeletal muscle. Molecular basis of contraction. Contraction of skeletal muscle.
9) Cardiac muscle. Cardiomyocyte electrophysiology. Cardiac mechanics. Cardiomuocyte escitation contraction coupling.
10) Contradtion of smooth muscle and non muscle cells. Excitaiton contraction coupling in smooth muscle.
Taglietti Vanni, Casella Cesare. Principi di Fisiologia e Biofisica della cellula (Vol. II: Scambi tra cellula e ambiente. Vol. III: La comunicazione tra le cellule. Vol. IV: Motilità e movimenti) . La Goliardica Pavese, 2010
D'Angelo Egidio, Peres Antonio. Fisiologia. Edi-Ermes, 2011
Lectures. Validation fo the level of understanding is provided by presenting topics to the students and discussiong with them the inimate meaning of fundamental laws and concepts wchich make the study at home easier. General details are left to the reading of the students while special care is given to topics which ar normally not treated in textboks.
Assessment methods and criteria
At the end of this course students will be able to understand basic principles of general physiology. The level of preparation of the students will be tested during oral examinations which are related to at least three topics: 1 Membranes and ions, 2 Excitable cells, 3 Sensory processes. In oder to demonstrate a sufficient degree of preparation at least one of the three topics should be described in great detail and with precision.