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Second Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)


Knowledge of the structure and function of cells and extracellular structures that constitute the tissues of the human body; the processes of cell proliferation and differentiation and the involved molecular mechanisms, starting with precursors stem cells; histogenesis, renewal, repair and regeneration of tissue and the homeostatic mechanisms involved; the main methods for the study and recognition of cells and tissues; fundamental processes by which the human body achieves its organization during embryonic development.

The student must be able to apply and integrate the knowledge of cell biology and histology in order to understand and interpret complex physiological and pathological mechanisms underlying diseases. Furthermore, possibly and at student discretion, he must be able to use the microscope and to recognize the tissues present in histological preparations.

The course aims to stimulate an objective assessment of contents of teaching, constantly offering students a comparison between what is learned in class and what they have learned through self-study, using the recommended books and other sources of information.

The student must be able to communicate the theoretical and practical knowledge learned during the course in essential, comprehensive way and with suitable medical language.

Ability to elaborate and deepen the concepts proposed during the course with a systematic, critical and quantitatively based approach through the study of various texts.




Cytology. The cell membrane. Fluid mosaic model. Membrane transport and signal transduction. Functions of the membrane. Specializations and coatings of the apical, basal and lateral cell surface. Smooth and rough endoplasmic reticulum. Golgi. Endosomes. Lysosomes. Mitochondria. Nucleus. Flagellum, cilia and mechanisms of their movement. Cellular inclusions. Microtubules. Intermediate filaments. Microfilaments. Amoeboid movement. Static, stable and subject to renewal cell populations. Stem cells. Multipotency and unipotency. Tissue engineering.

Histology. Epithelial tissues. Characteristics, embryonic origin and manners of renewal. Basement membrane. Interactions with the connective tissue. Covering tissues. Classification and localization of epithelia. Specializations of the epithelial cell surface. Exocrine and endocrine epithelia: classification, morphology, cytological characters, nature of the secretion, types of secretion and localization.
Connective tissue. General. Embryonic origins. Classification of connective tissues. Fibroblasts. Macrophages. Mast cells. Fat cells. Plasma cells. Leukocytes in the connective tissue. Collagen, reticular and elastic fibers. Proteoglycans, glycoproteins and other constituents of the amorphous (ground) intercellular substance. Connective tissue proper: loose, reticular, elastic, mucous and dense connective tissue. White and brown adipose tissue. Cartilage: general characteristics, classification, localization and growth. Bone: lamellar, nonlamellar, compact and spongy bone. Intramembranous and endochondral ossification. Bone growth and remodeling. Blood and lymph. Erythrocytes, leukocytes, platelets. Main aspects of the immune system. System of macrophages. Hematopoiesis. Lymphoid tissues. Muscle tissue: morphological, embryological derivation and relationship with the connective tissue. Cytological characteristics, ultrastructural and molecular features of different types of muscle tissue. Striated skeletal muscle tissue. Striated cardiac muscle. Cardiac conducting system. Smooth muscle tissue. Nerve tissue. Generalities. Embryonic derivations. Structural organization and ultrastructure of the neuron. Axonal flow and transport. Synapses. Conduction of nerve impulses. Myelin. Schwann cells. Satellite cells. Oligodendrocytes. Astrocytes. Ependyma. Microglia. Dorsal root ganglia and sympathetic ganglia. Structure of a nerve.
Embryology. Derivation of embryonic gonads and gametes. Male and female gametogenesis. Ovarian and uterine cycle and their hormonal correlation. Fertilization, cleavage, implantation. Events of the first four weeks of development. Notes on the development of major embryonic systems. Formation, function and fate of the fetal membranes (amnion, chorion, placenta, yolk sac, allantois, umbilical cord).

Microscopy. Use and knowledge of the optical microscope and the most common histological techniques. Recognition of cells and tissues in preparations by reasoned description.

Teaching Methods

The delivery of the lectures will take place in classrooms or on online platforms on the basis of national or local regulatory indications linked to the state of health emergency due to COVID -19
It includes the series of lectures that address all the issues of the program.
Interactive teaching
It includes:
(A) Individual or group meetings with tutors and teachers.
(B) Remote teacher-student interactions on Moodle ( or other websites, with a discussion forum open to all the enrolled students of the course.
(C) Discussions in the classroom on the results and right answers of the progress tests.
Professional training
It includes:
(A) In-depth knowledge of the use of the optical microscope and the most common histological techniques.
(B) Reading of microscope slides of tissues and organs of the human body, favoring difficult-to-interpret cases, such as problems related to section planes, artifacts and when preparation conditions (color, setting, etc.) are not optimal.
(C) Each student has the possibility of using a microscope in the Microscopy room. A tutor or a teacher will be available for clarification. Histological preparations will be presented by teachers with projections. In addition to standard microscopes, microscopes fitted with camera connected to a PC for viewing and saving images will also be available. Students will acquire the images and review them on their PC. Recognition cards and computer tools will be available to the trainees for the study of the histological preparations.
(D) Frequency of laboratories in the division of Cytomorphology, Department of Biomedical Sciences.
(E) Research and consultation of virtual microscopes (virtual microscopy) and digital atlases available on the web (see Reference books and other resources).

Verification of learning

The evaluation takes place through ongoing tests, a practical test and an oral test.
The ongoing tests (multiple choice quizzes or similar), optional and at teacher discretion, are carried out during the course, and concern cytology and histology. The questions are prepared in order to verify the knowledge of the organization and characteristics of cellular organelles and tissues.
The ongoing test consists of at least 30 questions each with 4 answers, each of which can be correct or incorrect (it is admitted that a question can have more correct answers but not none). 1 point is awarded for each correct answer and -1 point for each incorrect answer. The maximum mark achievable in each test with all correct answers is 32/30 (30 + honors), while the minimum to pass the test (18/30) is obtained with a score (correct answers - wrong answers) equal to 55% of the maximum score.
The final exam consists of a practical test and an oral test. The practical test focuses on the critical recognition of a histological preparation observed under an optical microscope; the student will have to describe in the appropriate terms the microscopic preparation that is presented to him, demonstrating that he knows the main histological techniques used in the laboratory, that he knows the histological characteristics of human tissues and that he is able to apply this knowledge to critically recognize the various tissues in the observed histological preparations under the optical microscope.
The oral test is aimed at ascertaining the level of knowledge and integration of the contents of the program not subjected to evaluation in the previous ongoing tests This oral test also allows you to verify the ability of the student to express and organize a coherent speech regarding the topics of the study program. As a whole, the exam allows to verify the ability to apply the skills and knowledge acquired, to verify the level of understanding of the contents, the exposition skills and the use of an appropriate technical language as well as the ability to know how to integrate the topics covered , including those already included in the ongoing checks.
Overall, the exam will be assessed according to the following criteria:
Not suitable: fundamental deficiencies in the knowledge of the topics covered; limited capacity for analysis and synthesis, frequent generalizations.
18-20: knowledge of the topics just sufficient to describe a minimum picture of the contents of the subject.
21-23: knowledge of the topics more than sufficient to frame, analyze and coherently summarize the topics in question.
24-26: fair knowledge of the topics associated with equivalent analysis and synthesis skills with rigorously expressed arguments.
27-29: complete knowledge of the topics associated with remarkable skills of analysis, synthesis and made explicit through rigorous and specific language.
30-30L: excellent level of knowledge and integration of topics. Remarkable skills of analysis and synthesis, enriched by a deep, detailed and original expressive capacity.

The final grade results from the weighted average of the various tests (50% tests and the remaining 50% oral and practical tests overall).

Those who do not pass one or both on-going tests must take the oral exam of the part of the program relating to the verification which was found to be insufficient. From the September session onwards, the exam will be oral and will cover all the topics of the program.

The quizzes of the ongoing tests assign a total partial score out of thirty. The grade of the quiz contributes together with the result of the microscopy test to the evaluation of the final grade.



Ross - Pawlina, Istologia. Testo e Atlante (Casa Editrice Ambrosiana) - 2nd italian edition
Adamo et al., Istologia di V. Monesi (Piccin)
Mattioli Belmonte et al., Istologia Umana (Idelson-Gnocchi)
Mescher, Junqueira Istologia (Piccin)
Kierszenbaum – Tres, Istologia dalle basi molecolari alle correlazioni cliniche (Edra)

M De Felici et al., Embriologia Umana Piccin
W.J. Larsen: Embriologia Umana (Idelson-Gnocchi)
Barbieri – Carinci Embriologia - Terza edizione Casa Editrice Ambrosiana
Sadler: Embriologia Medica di Langman (Masson).
Moore K.L., Persaud T.V.N.: Lo sviluppo prenatale dell’Uomo (EdiSES)

Other resources (atlas, virtual microscopes, etc.) available online:

Questionnaire and social

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