The course aims to teach the general aspects of the structure and function of the mammalian cell and tissues.
The goal of this course is to enable students to recognize the cell and tissue structure under the optical microscope.
teacher profile | teaching materials


Knowledge and understanding: Knowledge of the principles of cell biology and tissue organization. Acquisition of conscious judgment autonomy with reference to: evaluation, interpretation and contextualization of photographs acquired with microscopic techniques. Ability to communicate effectively and with the correct terminology;
Applied skills: The basic knowledge acquired through the study of cytology will allow students to apply them to the study of tissues. In addition, students will be able to recognize and comment on a preparation or photograph acquired with a microscopic instrument. Finally, this knowledge will allow students to understand the disciplinary insights that will be carried out in the following years.

Cell theory. Methods of studying the cell: the microscope.
Macromolecules: The main carbohydrates of biological interest and their polymers. Notes on glycolysis. The main lipids of biological interest. Amino acids and proteins. Notes on the structure and function of proteins. Enzymes.
Nucleic acids. DNA and RNA structure. DNA replication, messenger transcription and RNA, genetic code, ribosomes and protein synthesis.
Cell membranes: chemical composition, The fluid mosaic model. Intrinsic and extrinsic proteins. Permeability and active transport. Ionic channels. Intercellular junctions: zonula occludens, zonula adherens and desmosomes.
Cytoplasmic and secretory pathway, The endoplasmic reticulum, Origin and sorting of secretory and membrane proteins. Golgi apparatus. Lysosomes, peroxisomes, endocytosis, phagocytosis, exocytosis.
Structure of mitochondria, Probable origin of mitochondria and plastids, DNA in mitochondria, Notes on energy metabolism: respiration.
The cytoskeleton: Microtubules, microfilaments and intermediate filaments. Eyelashes and flagella. centrioles. Cell movement.
The nucleus of eukaryotes, nuclear envelope and nuclear pores, histones and nucleosomes. Euchromatin and heterochromatin. The nucleolus. Chromosome structure.
The cell cycle: the interphase (phases G1, S and G2), Cell division. Haploid, diploid and polyploid cells. Mitosis in animal cells. Meiosis. Phases and sub-phases of meiosis. The meaning of meiosis and crossing over. Recombination. Outline of gametogenesis.
Properties of Stem Cells. Cell death: necrosis and apoptosis

Epithelial tissue. General characteristics. Coating epithelia. Classification and functions. The basal surface of the epithelia: relationships with the connective tissue and the basal lamina. Renewal of the covering epithelia: the germinative layer.
Connective tissue. The different connective tissues: general characteristics and specific characteristics of the different connective tissues. The connective proper. Classification of connectives.
Fundamental substance. Collagen, reticular and elastic fibers. Connective glycoproteins. Connective cells and their function.
Blood and signs of cellular immunology. The plasma: composition and functions. Erythrocytes and white blood cells: morphological and functional characteristics. Migration of cells between blood and connective tissue.
Lymphocytes and the immune response: role of T and B lymphocytes, antibodies.
Supportive connectives. Bone tissue. Spongy bone and compact bone. Microscopic structure of the bone: the osteone. Osteoblasts, osteocytes, osteoclasts. Histogenesis of bone: intramembranous or cartilaginous ossification (encondral ossification).
Muscle tissue. Smooth muscle tissue. Skeletal muscle tissue. Structure and ultrastructure of muscle fiber. Myofibrils and myofilaments: the sarcomere. Muscle contraction. Heart muscle tissue.
Nervous tissue. The central and peripheral nervous system. Morphology of the neuron. Cytoskeleton and axoplasmic flow: neurotubules and neurofilaments. The axon and the nerve fiber. Myelinated fibers and unmyelinated fibers. Notes on nerve impulse conduction. The synapse. Neurotransmitters. Neuroglia. The blood-brain barrier.

Core Documentation

Essential Cell Biology, Bruce Alberts, Karen Hopkin, Alexander D. Johnson, David Morgan, Martin Raff. Garland Science. Last edition
Junqueira's Basic Histology: Text and Atlas, Anthony Mescher. Lange. Last edition
Cytology and Istology
Citologia ed Istologia
Biologia Cellula e Tessuti, various authors , edi-ermes

Reference Bibliography

Slides in PDF format will be provided for all lessons and exercises.

Type of delivery of the course

The course takes place with lessons and practical exercises in the laboratory with the aid of optical microscopes. The course is divided into a Cytology module and a Histology module, but the topics will often be transversal. The histology topics are addressed in part in class in part during laboratory exercises. Classes are held weekly in the classroom with the help of power point presentations and videos. For the exercises the students are divided into groups of 20-30 per shift. The laboratory activities include four exercises in which the student will learn the use of the optical microscope, the preparation of histological slides and coloring techniques, the recognition of the different observed tissues.


Class attendance is not mandatory. The frequency of at least 3/4 of the practical exercises is required.

Type of evaluation

The exam is ORAL. Students must register on the student's portal and are invited to present themselves on the day of the exam at the indicated time. On that date, the list of students, processed according to a random order, will be read. Each student (if present) will indicate one of the days (as proposed by the teacher) to take the exam. The assessment of profit is aimed at verifying the level of knowledge of the topics covered in the course and the reasoning ability of the student who points out that he / she knows how to connect the structure and function of the different structures. In the evaluation of the tests and in the attribution of the final grade, the following will be taken into account: the level of knowledge of the contents demonstrated, the ability to apply the theoretical concepts, the capacity for analysis, synthesis and intra- and inter-disciplinary connections, of the capacity of critical sense and formulation of judgments, of mastery of expression. The evaluation is expressed in thirtieths. Verbalization mode According to what established by the college of the Biology course, the exam verbalization will be carried out as follows: 1) the student does not appear at the call: absent 2) the student passes the exam but refuses the vote: withdrawn 3) the student fails the exam: rejected