Bachelor's degree in Nursing (to qualify as a nurse) (Trento)

Morphological and functional fundamentals of life (2018/2019)

Course code
Carlo Zancanaro

Teaching is organised as follows:
Unit Credits Academic sector Period Academic staff
FISIOLOGIA 3 BIO/09-PHYSIOLOGY INF TN - 1° anno 1° sem Luigi Cattaneo
ANATOMIA UMANA 3 BIO/16-HUMAN ANATOMY INF TN - 1° anno 1° sem Carlo Zancanaro
ISTOLOGIA 1 BIO/17-HISTOLOGY INF TN - 1° anno 1° sem Giuseppe Bertini

Learning outcomes

The course introduces the student to the ability of describing the human’s body structure (both considering the macroscopic level and the microscopic level) in normal conditions. Moreover the course develop the knowing of the essential morphologic characteristics of systems, organs, tissues, cells and subcellular structures of the human body and their main related Morpho functional. It also proposes the study of the physiological phenomena of the various systems, in a holistic view from the cell to the whole organism and to recognize the principles of homeostasis and the control mechanisms that oversee them and the major adjustments in non- basal conditions.


1. Cell physiology 1.1. Composition and biophysical characteristics of the cell membrane. 1.2. Passive and active transport. Osmosis. 2. The physiology of excitable and contractile tissues 2.1. Resting potential and action potential. Absolute and relative refractory periods. Propagation of the action potential. Graded potentials. 2.2. Classification of nerve fibers. 2.3. Chemical Synapses. Post-synaptic excitatory and inhibitory potentials. Spatial and temporal integration of postsynaptic potentials. 2.4. Electro-mechanical coupling in skeletal muscle. The cardiac action potential. Smooth muscle. 2.5. Contractile proteins. 3. Central and peripheral nervous system 3.1. Functional organization of the central nervous system. 3.2. Spinal reflexes. 3.3. Functions of the autonomic nervous system. 3.4. Brainstem and hypothalamus. 3.5. Voluntary movement. 3.6. Cerebellum and basal ganglia. 3.7. Sleep and wake. 3.8. Language. 3.9. Somatic sensitivity and pain. 4. Cardiovascular system 4.1. Generation and conduction of excitement. Cardiac pacemaker. Baroreceptors. 4.2. Intrinsic and extrinsic regulation of cardiac function: Frank-Starling mechanism: preload, afterload and contractility. Heart rate, stroke volume and cardiac output. 4.2. Basic elements of hydrostatics and hydrodynamics: pressure, flow, strength and viscosity. Poiseuille’s Law. Laminar and turbulent flow. Laplace’s law. 4.3. Arteries, capillaries and veins. Transcapillary exchanges. Venous circulation. Central and peripheral arterial pulse; Origin and propagation of the pulse wave. 4.4. Blood pressure regulation. Short-term and long-term blood pressure regulation: baroreceptors, kidney-fluid system, renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. 4.5. Venous return and factors that influence it. Pulmonary hemodynamics. 5. Respiratory system 5.1. Respiratory Mechanics. Intrathoracic and intra-pulmonary pressure and their variations during breathing. 5.2. Pulmonary volumes and capacities: definitions and measurements. 5.3. Physics laws of gasses. Inhaled, exhaled and alveolar air and partial gas pressures. Anatomical and physiological dead space. Pulmonary and alveolar ventilation. Dissension of gases between the lungs and the blood. Oxygen transport. 5.4. Oxygen saturation curve of hemoglobin. Influence of pCO2, pH and temperature. Quantitative aspects of oxygen transport in the blood. Carbon dioxide transport. 5.5. Nervous and chemical respiratory control: brainstem respiratory centers, peripheral and central chemoreceptors. 6. Renal system 6.1. The nephron unit: glomerulus and tubule. 6.2. Renal circulation. 6.3. Filtration process. Composition of the ultrafiltrate. Reabsorption and secretion mechanisms. Renal clearance. Tubular glucose reabsorption. Sodium reabsorption. Water reabsorption. 6.4. Concentration and dilution of urine. Hormonal control of renal function: ADH, aldosterone, renin 6.5. Renal role in Acid-Base Equilibrium. 6.6. Micturition. 6.7. Integrated control mechanisms of the volume and the osmolality of extracellular fluid. 7. Digestive system 7.1. Saliva secretion. Chewing and swallowing. 7.2. Gastric filling and emptying. Gastric secretion: gastric mucosa glands; Composition and functions of gastric juice. Nervous and humoral control of motility and gastric secretion. The vomit reflex. 7.3. Pancreatic exocrine secretion and bile secretion. Nervous and humoral control of pancreatic secretion. Composition, nervous and humoral control of biliary secretion. 7.4. Nervous and hormonal control of intestinal movements and secretion. 7.5. Defecation. 7.6. Intestinal absorption of carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, vitamins, water and electrolytess. 7.7. Short-term and long-term nervous control of appetite. 8. Endocrine System 8.1. The hypothalamus-pituitary-gland endocrine glands. 8.2. Stress hormones: cortisol and catecholamines 8.3. Lactation hormones: prolactin and oxytocin 8.4. Sex hormones 8.5. Hormones in the short and long term metabolic control: insulin, glucagon, thyroid hormones and GH. 8.6. Homeostasis of body calcium: parathormone, calcitonin and vitamin D.
- Locomotor apparatus - Cardiocirculatory apparatus - Lung apparatus - Renal tract - Gastrointestinal tract - pancreas and liver - Nervous system
- Histological methods - Cell membrane, cytosol, organelles, nucleus - Lining and glandular epithelium - Mesenchymal tissues - Connective tissue - Cartilage - Bone - Skeletal, cardiac, and smooth muscle - Nervous tissue

Assessment methods and criteria

The exam is written. It is carried out together for the three modules (anatomy, histology, physiology). The test consists of 100 multiple choice questions (5 possible answers each; correct answer, 1 point, wrong/missing answer, 0 points). Sufficiency is evaluated on the total of the correct answers. The place of examination is the University Polo in Trento.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Bentivoglio M. et al. Anatomia umana e istologia (Edizione 2) Minerva Medica 2010 978-88-7711-670-3
Stanfield CL Fisiologia (Edizione 5) EdiSES 2017 9788879599726
Widmaier E.P., Raff H., Strang K.T. Vander Fisiologia (Edizione 2) Ambrosiana 2018 9788808280022
G. Sica et al Istologia per le professioni sanitarie Sorbona-IDELSON-GNOCCHI 2015 978-88-7947-593-8

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