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First Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)
[60/72]  NEUROPSYCHOBIOLOGY [60/72-00 - Ord. 2020]  PERCORSO COMUNE 6 52


The course aims to deepen the aspects concerning the molecular structure, synthesis, metabolic fate (accumulation, metabolism and excretion) of the most important neurotransmitters and neuromodulators of the main brain areas and neural pathways. The use of antibodies labelled with radioactive isotopes for the qualitative and quantitative determination of biologically active molecules (RIA) will be described. The course will also address the Chromatographic technique and its application for the separation and measurement of steroids, monoamines and acetylcholine. Microdialysis technique as a means for collection of fluid extracellular samples from specific brain areas will also be presented.

Knowledge and understanding:
Theoretical lectures planned to guide the student acquisition of critical tools and familiarity with issues concerning the basis of the regulated secretion of neurotransmitter: release and recapture mechanisms of classical and peptide neurotransmitters by neuronal cell and the reactions that lead to the synthesis and metabolism of the main CNS neurotransmitters and neuromodulators. Practical laboratory lessons to facilitate the acquisition of a deep understanding of techniques applicable to the neurochemistry and their limitations.

Applying knowledge and understanding:
The theoretical lessons and practical work in the laboratory will be aimed to provide students with the base knowledge for understanding the mechanisms that lead to the synthesis, metabolism, and release of classical neurotransmitters and neuromodulators, and the main neurochemical methods used for the study of these mechanisms. These concepts will be useful for the acquisition and understanding of the concepts taught in following courses.

Making judgments:
The lectures and laboratory practices will be set up to enable the student to assess the knowledge acquired so critical, to integrate them with previously learned concepts and lay a solid foundation for learning concepts that will be taught in the following courses. Students will also be able to be able to read and critically appreciate the scientific literature, national and international, on the topics covered in the course.

Communication skills:
Students must demonstrate that they have acquired the ability to express (orally and / or diagrams) in a clear and scientifically appropriate terms with the concepts taught in the course to both specialist and non-specialist.

Learning skills:
essential theoretical knowledge of the neurochemical bases acquired from advanced texts of neurochemistry of university level and international publications useful for the development, deepening and continuous updating of knowledge. Knowledge of the main experimental methods commonly applied to the neurochemical studies.


Good basic knowledge of chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology and structure and function of the neuron


Lecture syllabus
The synaptic vesicle: structure, composition and mechanisms for the accumulation of neurotransmitters inside the vesicle.
Principles underlying the regulated secretion of neurotransmitters: mechanisms of release and recapture of classical neurotransmitters and peptide by neuronal cells.
Membrane ransporters.
Mechanisms of nervous signal transduction. Ionotropic and G-protein Coupled receptors (GPCR)
Acetylcholine: Distribution, Synthesis, Metabolism, function of acetylcholine in the CNS; Nicotinic and muscarinic receptors.
Monoamines: noradrenaline: Distribution, Synthesis, Metabolism, Receptors, function of norepinephrine in the CNS. Dopamine: dopaminergic systems, Synthesis, Metabolism, Receptors, function of dopamine in the CNS. Serotonin Distribution: Synthesis, Metabolism, Receptors, function of serotonin in CNS.
Inhibitory amino acids: gamma amino butyric acid (GABA): Distribution, Synthesis, Metabolism, receptors, function of GABA in the CNS. Glycine: Distribution, Synthesis, Metabolism, Receptors, function of glycine in the CNS.
Excitatory amino acids: Glutamic Acid: Distribution, Synthesis, Metabolism, Receptors, function of glutamic acid in the CNS. Aspartic acid: Distribution, Synthesis, Metabolism, Receptors, function of aspartic acid in the CNS.
Purines: Distribution, synthesis, metabolism, Receptors, outline of the function of purines in the CNS.
Nitroxide: Distribution, Synthesis, Metabolism, outlines of the function of nitric oxide in the CNS.
Neuroactive peptides: Differences between neuropeptides and neurotransmitters. Distribution, Synthesis, Metabolism, Receptors. Vasopressin and oxytocin, VIP, opioid peptides, somatostatin, cholecystokinin, Neurotensin, CRF, substance P, NPY
Laboratory syllabus
Chromatographic techniques: theoretical principles, columns (packed and capillary; phase or ion exchange, reverse phase), mobile phase, HPLC, electrochemical detector (electrode surface, radial flow, coulometric). Qualitative and quantitative analysis. Treatment of samples.
Application of the technique: i) measurement of extracellular levels of neurotransmitters in specific brain areas.
Transverse and vertical microdialysis for the collection of samples of extracellular fluid in specific areas of the rat brain: theoretical principles, fiber preparation, samples collection.

Teaching Methods

5 CFU (40 hours) lectures and 1 CFU (12 hours) laboratory classes
The teaching will be delivered simultaneously both in presence and online, thus outlining a mixed teaching that can be enjoyed in university classrooms but at the same time also at a distance. At the beginning of the semester, the student will opt for face-to-face or distance teaching, the choice will be binding for the entire semester. If the number of students exceeds the capacity of the classrooms, determined on the basis of government provisions on health matters for the purpose of combating the pandemic by Covid-19, access to teaching facilities will be regulated through a shift system that will be communicated in due time to interested students.

Verification of learning

The modality of the final exam will be defined depending on the provisions aimed at containing the pandemic.
The final grade takes into account several factors:
Quality of the knowledge, skills, competences:
a) appropriateness, accuracy and consistency of knowledge
b) appropriateness, accuracy and consistency of skills
c) appropriateness, accuracy and consistency of skills
Exhibition mode:
a) Capacity of expression;
b) Proper use of the specific language of the discipline;
c) Logical capacity;
e) Ability to connect different arguments by finding the common points and establish a consistent overall design, ie taking care of structure, organization and logical connections of speech exhibition;
f) Ability to summarize also through the use of symbolism on the matter, and graphic expression of ideas and concepts, for example in the form of formulas, tables, equations.
Relational qualities:
Availability to exchange and interaction with the teacher during the interview.
Personal qualities:
a) critical spirit;
b) ability to self-evaluation.

Consequently, the judgment can be:
a) Fair (18 to 20/30)
The candidate demonstrates little knowledge acquired, superficial level, many gaps. Expressive abilities are modest, but still sufficient to support a coherent dialogue, logical and consequential in the fitting of the subjects of the elementary level; poor capacity for synthesis and ability to graphic expression rather stunted, lack of interaction with the teacher during interview.
b) Moderate (21 to 23)
The applicant demonstrates discreet acquisition of knowledge but lack of depth, a few gaps; expressive abilities more than sufficient to support a coherent dialogue; acceptable mastery of the language of science, logical and consequential in the fitting of the arguments of moderate complexity, more than sufficient capacity for synthesis and acceptable ability to graphic expression.
c) Good (24 to 26)
The candidate demonstrates a large wealth of knowledge, moderate depth, with small gaps; satisfactory mastery of the expressive capabilities and significant scientific language; dialogical and critical ability well detectable, good capacity for synthesis and ability to graphic expression more than acceptable.
d) Outstanding (27 to 29)
The candidate demonstrates an extensive wealth of notions, good depth, with marginal gaps; remarkable powers of expression and high mastery of scientific language; remarkable dialogue capacity, good competence and relevant aptitude for logic synthesis, high capacity for synthesis and graphic expression.
e) Excellent (30)
The candidate demonstrates a very extensive wealth of and in-depth knowledge, irrelevant gaps, high capacity and high mastery of the expressive language of science; excellent dialogical ability, aptitude to make connections between different subjects, excellent ability to synthesize and is very familiar with the expression graphics.
The laude is attributed to the candidates clearly above average, and whose notional limits, if any, expressive, conceptual, logical, as a whole are completely irrelevant.


Golan “Principi di Farmacologia” Editrice Ambrosiana
Clementi-Fumagalli “Farmacologia cellulare e molecolare” UTET
Goodman & Gilman “Le basi farmacologiche della terapia” McGraw-Hill

More Information

During the classes the teacher will provide the students with lecture notes, reviews and publications on the topics of the course

Questionnaire and social

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