1. Introduction to the Course (1 hour).
1.1 Program of the course: presentation of lectures and seminars.
2. The Special Senses (8 hours).
2.1 The chemical senses (smell and taste): anatomy and functional organization of the olfactory system; physiological mechanisms of olfactory signal transduction; central olfactory pathways: olfactory bulb, olfactory pathways and cortical processing of information; anatomy and functional organization of the gustatory system; taste receptor cells and proteins; central gustatory pathways, coding and signal transduction.
2.2 Eye and vision: general principles of optics; anatomy and functional organization of the eye; phototransduction mechanisms; sensitivity and visual acuity; color vision; retinal circuits; cell response to different lighting conditions; central visual pathways; field of view.
2.3 Ear and hearing: general principles of acoustics; anatomy and functional organization of the auditory system; the meccano-electric transduction of the sound; ionic bases of meccano-transduction in ciliate cells; central auditory pathways; auditory cortex.
2.4 Vestibular system: anatomy and functional organization of the vestibular system; static and dynamic balance; otoliths and semicircular canals; vestibular nerve pathways; vestibulo-ocular reflex; central pathways to thalamus and cortex.
3. The Motor Control (10 hours).
3.1 Hierarchical organization of motor control systems; types of movement.
3.2 The spinal cord as a center of reflexes; proprioceptors (joint receptors, neuromuscular spindles, Golgi tendon organs); motor efferences of the spinal cord; concept of myotatic unit and mutual inhibition; spinal reflex arcs; spinal generators of rhythm: the locomotion and biomechanics of the path; muscular stiffness; the cycle of the step; nervous control of locomotion.
3.3 Voluntary movement: nerve centers responsible for movement; relationship between motor neurons and muscles; somatotopic organization of motoneurons; motor program.
3.4 Movement planning and organization: primary motor cortex, posterior parietal cortex and premotor cortex; mirror neurons.
3.5 Modulation of the movement by brain stem and spinal cord: lateral and medial motor descending pathways; posture, balance and visual orientation; final common pathway.
3.6 Modulation of the movement by basal ganglia: anatomy and functional organization of the basal ganglia; afferent and efferent fibers of the basal ganglia; saccadic eye movements; direct and indirect pathways of the basal ganglia; dopaminergic pathway.
3.7 Modulation of the movement by the cerebellum: anatomy and functional organization of the cerebellum; afferent and efferent fibers of the cerebellum; basic cerebellar circuits; control of the cerebellum on voluntary movement.
3.8 Memory and learning: definitions. Memory: locations, mechanisms, neurobiological bases of short and long-term memory; role of the hippocampus; long term potentiation (LTP). Associative learning and conditional learning. Procedural learning and procedural memory; steps of motor learning, role of the cerebellum in motor learning; striatal circuit and cerebellar circuit.
4. Introduction to the Endocrine System (4 hours).
4.1 Cell signaling at short and long distances; gap junctions; cell-cell contact dependent signaling; autocrine and paracrine signals; long distance communication through nervous system and blood circulation: neurotransmitters and hormones.
4.2 What makes a molecule a hormone; hormone-receptor interaction and signal transduction and termination; classification of hormones in peptide-protein, steroid, and amine hormones; mechanisms of release, transport and action of the different classes of hormones; mechanisms of action of hydrophilic and hydrophobic (or lipophilic) hormones; differences between ionotropic and metabotropic receptors; mechanisms of signal transduction in G-coupled receptors and in receptors tyrosine kinases; intracellular receptors and genomic effect.
4.3 Hormones of the anterior pituitary gland (PRL, TSH, ACTH, GH, FSH, LH); hormones of the posterior pituitary gland (oxytocin and vasopressin); control of the anterior pituitary by the hypothalamus; the hypothalamic-hypophyseal portal system; long- and short-range negative feedback circuits.
5. Energy Balance and Metabolism (7 hours).
5.1 Satiety and feeding center in the hypothalamus; appetite and hunger signals: ghrelin and neuropeptide Y; satiety signals: leptin and insulin; glucostatic and lipostatic theory for the control of food intake.
5.2 Energy balance: energy in and energy out pathways; direct calorimetry and indirect calorimetry; oxygen consumption, production of carbon dioxide and respiratory co-efficient; factors that influence oxygen consumption.
5.3 Body metabolism: anabolic and catabolic pathways; absorption or assimilation state; post-absorption or post-assimilation state; the different metabolic pathways underlying usage and storage of energy (glycogenesis, glycogenolysis, gluconeogenesis, lipogenesis, lipolysis, and protein synthesis).
5.4 The role of pancreas in the control of metabolism: insulin and glucagon in satiety and fasting; pancreas response to blood glucose levels; insulin receptors and signal transduction in in muscle, adipose tissue and liver; type-1 and type-2 diabetes mellitus.
5.5 Exergonic systems of skeletal muscle: anaerobic alactacid metabolism; anerobic lactacid metabolism: blood lactic acid accumulation curve in relation to workload; aerobic metabolism of sugars and fatty acids; speed of ATP production by the various exergonic systems; use of fatty acids and carbohydrates in relation to the intensity of exercise; glycogen depletion.
6. Thermal Balance and the Regulation of Body Temperature (or Thermoregulation) (4 hours).
6.1 Energy balance and the cost of thermogenesis; metabolic efficiency in the transfer of energy to glycogen and fat deposits.
6.2 Thermal Balance and the Regulation of Body Temperature: balance between gain and loss of body heat; heat production: non-shivering and shivering thermogenesis; mechanisms of heat gain: irradiation and conduction; mechanisms of heat loss: conduction, irradiation, convection and evaporation.
6.3 Control of body temperature by the hypothalamus: center of thermoregulation; peripheral and central temperature receptors; sensory pathways of the spino-thalamic tract; the thermoregulatory reflex: mechanisms of vasodilation, vasoconstriction, and sweating.
7. Endocrine Control of Metabolism and Growth (4 hours).
7.1 Adrenal glucocorticoids: ACTH and control of cortisol secretion; effects of cortisol on target organs/tissues; pharmacological use of cortisol; hypercortisolism and hypocortisolism.
7.2 Thyroid hormones: mechanisms of synthesis of thyroid hormones by follicles; release, transport, and effect of T3 and T4; TSH and control of the release of T3 and T4; hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
7.3 Growth hormone (GH): GHRH e GHIH and the control of GH release, and effect of GH on target organs and tissues; GH and its role in growth.
7.4 Growth of soft tissues and bones: hyperplasia and hypertrophy; linear growth of long bones; importance of calcium in bone growth; role of osteoclasts and osteoblasts in bone remodeling.
7.5 Role and balance of calcium in the body: the three hormones that regulate the calcium balance (parathormone, calcitriol and calcitonin); osteoporosis and loss of bone tissue.
8. Applied Physiology: muscular, cardiovascular, and respiratory adaptations to exercise (6 hours).
8.1 Concept of chronic and acute adaptations to physical exercise; VO2max: what it depends on and how it varies with aerobic exercise; training zone for VO2max.
8.2 Adaptations of skeletal muscle to endurance and power exercise; fiber typing and recruitment in relation to the type of exercise; single twitch, summation and muscle fatigue; role played respectively by the nerve and muscle components in increasing strength; structural remodeling in response to exercise; satellite and memory fibers.
8.3 Acute ventilator adaptations to physical exercise: changes in ventilation; relationship between ventilation and partial pressures of oxygen and alveolar and blood carbon dioxide; relationship between blood lactic acid, pH and hyperventilation.
8.4 Acute cardiovascular adaptations to exercise: changes in heart rate and systolic volume; changes in the pressure-volume curve of the left ventricle; venous return and Frank-Starling law; redistribution of blood flow; arterial pressure changes.
8.5 Chronic cardiovascular adaptations to exercise (effects of training): structural adaptations of the myocardium (eccentric and concentric hypertrophy); changes in systolic output, output and heart rate.
9. The Integrative Seminars (4 hours).
The course of Human Physiology for the Master degree will also include a series of 4 seminars, which will be held within the normal teaching schedule, in the second part of the course. The exact date of each seminar will be announced at least one week in advance.