PLANT BIOLOGY - PHARMACOGNOSY
Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course aims at teaching the basic functional aspects of plant organisms, with an emphasis on the systems of production and accumulation of primary and secondary metabolites of pharmaceutical interest, widely used both as active ingredients and as excipients. From this standpoint, the course aims to provide the key to understand the ecophysiological rationale behind the role of plant secondary metabolites in drug discovery.
There are not prerequisites. However, the following exams are highly recommended: Human anatomy/animal biology
Course contents summary
- The role of plant secondary metabolism in drug-discovery.
The rationale behind the presence of bioactive molecules in plants. The relevance of plant secondary metabolism as a scaffold for pharmaceutical compounds of direct use or as hemisynthetic precursors.
- Morphogenesis and plant secondary metabolism plant.
Autotrophic and heterotrophic organisms. Cytology: the prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell structure , the cellular organization, the physiological and ecological role of its components. The plant cell as a laboratory for the production of compounds of pharmaceutical releance: biological (primary and secondary metabolism). Unique plant cell structures (vacuoles, plastids, wall) and their biological function and relapses on pharmaceutical uses. Histology: meristematic tissues, adult and definitive tissues. Structures devoted to the secretion and accumulation of plant secondary metabolites. Histological anatomy of roots, stems (in primary and secondary structure) and leaves, with examples functional to the obtention of herbal drugs. Organography of leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds and its role in the accumulation of primary and secondary metabolites. Asexual and gamic reproduction. Pharmaceutical relevance of plant tissues in recognition of plants, in quality control and in the production and accumulation of the active ingredients. The variability of plant secondary metabolism in relation to physiological and ecological factors and the impact on pharmaceutical use of plant derivatives.
- Plant Systematics.
Fundamentals of plant systematics: species concepts, taxonomic groups, and methods in
systematic nomenclature, basics of chemosystematics. Main families of food, medicinal and poisonous plants.
Individuals autotrophic and heterotrophic.
taxonomy and nomenclature units. Systematics, taxonomy, identification.
Classifications: descriptive systems, morphological, phylogenetic.
Reproduction (asexual, sexual).
Mushrooms. Organization and main biological characteristics
The main divisions of the plant kingdom.
THE PLANT CELL
Chloroplast: ultrastructure. Photosynthesis.
The cell wall.
The middle lamella
The primary wall
Cellulose and hemicellulose
The secondary wall
Chemical modifications of the wall
Pharmaceutical importance Wall
the vacuole; vacuole functions
the vacuolar juice components
secondary metabolism production of active ingredients in medicinal plants.
ANATOMY OF THE PLANT
The different zones of the stem and root development
Anatomy of the stem
the primary structure zone
transition from the primary to the secondary structure
secondary structure zone
The omoxil wood and eteroxil
Anatomy of root
anatomical differences between root and stem
Flower anatomy and pollination
Anatomy of the main types of fruits
True fruits and false fruits
mineral elements and their function in the plant
Tropisms and circadian rhythms
Medicinal plant and crude drug.
Phytocomplex and active compounds. Toxicity.
Basics of general pharmacology: pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic
Traditional medicine phytotherapy and nutraceuticals
Technology of natural medical products:
- harvesting, drying, grinding, squeezing, enfleurage, distillation, extraction.
Drug acquisition and preservation.
Phytochemisty and secondary metabolic pathways
VEGETAL ACTIVE PRINCIPLES:
- carbohydrates: mono/polysacchrides, starch, cellulose, gums, mucilages, pectins, destrans, inulin
- glycosides (cardioactive, cyanogenics, sulphurated, antraquinones, saponins).
- alkaloids: purinergics, tropanics, benzylisoquinolics, indolics, quinolinics.
- lipids: oils, fats, waxes. Omega-3 (atherosclerosis) and omega-6 fatty acids
- essential oils
Drugs acting on gastrointestinal system
- Aloe spp, Matricaria recutita, Althaea officinalis, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Foeniculum
vulgare, Pimpinella anisum, Illicium verum, Pimpinella Anisum, Ilicium Anisatum, Zingiber officinalis
- Constipation: manna, Rhamnus frangula, Rhamnus purshiana, Cassia spp, Aloe
spp, Rheum spp., aloe spp.
Drugs acting on CNS
- Stimolants: Coffea arabica, Thea sinensis, Theobroma cacao, Cola spp, Ilex
paraguayensis, Paullinia cupana
-Sedative: Valeriana officinalis, Piper methysticum, Passiflora incarnata, Melissa officinalis, humulus lupulus
-antidepressant; Hypericum perforatum
Drugs acting on cardiovascular system
- Antihyperlipidemic plants: Cynara scolimus, Allium sativum, Vaccinium myrtillus,
- Peripheral vascular disorders : Aesculus hippocastanum, Hamamelis virginiana, Vaccinium myrtillus, Ruscus aculeatus
Drugs acting on respiratory system
- saponins: Hedera helix, Poligala senega.
- essences: Eucaliptus globulus, Melaleuca spp, Menta piperita, Pimpinella anisum, Foeniculum vulgare, Myroxylon pereire, Myroxylon balsamum.
- mucilages: Althaea officinalis.
Drugs active on immune system:
- aloe spp., Eleuterococcus senticosus Maxim, Uncaria tomentosa, Astragalus membranaceus Fisch, Echinacea spp.
F. Senatore, Biologia delle piante Biologia e Botanica farmaceutica. Ed. Piccin. PH Raven, FE Ray, Biologia delle Piante, Ed. Zanichelli. M.L. Leporatti, S. Foddai, L. Tommasini: "Testo Atlante di Anatomia Vegetale e delle Piante Officinali" Edizioni Piccin, Padova.
Assessment methods and criteria
The final exam (oral) will cover all the topics of the program. The student will be asked to demonstrate its capability to use the basic concepts of each topic.