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Second Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)
[40/39]  MEDICINE AND SURGERY [39/00 - Ord. 2015]  PERCORSO COMUNE 7 85


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, 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 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.




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.

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. Tissue engineering.

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

It includes the series of lectures that address all the issues of the program.

Interactive teaching
It includes:
(A) sessions of exercises in which the histological preparations will be projected on the screen and illustrated by the teacher. The images will be projected using a microscope connected to a high-definition camera, thereby allowing the viewing of all details directly observable under the microscope. The illustration of the teacher will stimulate the comments and observations of the students. Each tutorial will propose topics covered during classroom teaching. The topics of the screenings, the classroom and times will be previously defined in a report that will be distributed along with the schedule of classes.
(B) Meetings individual or group with tutors and teachers.
(C) Remote teacher-student interactions on Moodle (https://elearning.unica.it) or other websites, with discussion forum open to all students enrolled in the course.
(D) Discussion in the classroom on the answers to 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 preparations of tissues and organs of the human body, favoring cases difficult to interpret such as problems related to section planes, artifacts and when preparation conditions (color, setting, etc.) are not optimal.
(C) Possibility for each student of using the 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).

Educational activities chosen by students.
They include:
Seminars and specialized courses.

Verification of learning

Learning assessment will be done by multiple choice tests that include all topics of the course, Embryology included.

Those who pass the test (all partial progress tests, or the global test at the end of course, at the end of May) have to pass the test of Microscopy. Progress tests that have been failed may be repated in June and July. From September onwards, multiple choice tests cover all topics of the program.

The tests assign a score which can reach the maximum of 30 thirtieths. The microscope identification makes it possible to increase of 2 points the score.

With current policies, in the last 10 years about 90% of students passed the exam with marks medium to high in the first summer session, immediately after the conclusion of the course.


recommended textbook:
Ross - Pawlina, Istologia. Testo e Atlante (Casa Editrice Ambrosiana) - 2nd italian edition
other compatible textbooks:
Autori vari, Istologia di V. Monesi (Piccin)

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

A list of compatible textbooks will be published online (see More Information).

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

More Information

Prof. Giacomo Diaz can be contacted by email. It receives by appointment. The teacher also maintains a web page on the address:
that is constantly updated with all information and learning resources available for the course.

The classroom of Microscopy, open every day (except saturday) from 9 am to 20, provides students microscopes and histological slides of all tissues. Some microscopes are equipped with a camera connected to a PC for viewing and saving images.

Questionnaire and social

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