03469 - Pharmacology and Toxicology

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Moduli: Roberto Tonelli (Modulo 1) Donatella Canistro (Modulo 2)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo 2)
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Applied Pharmaceutical Sciences (cod. 8518)

Learning outcomes

Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.

Principles of Toxicology. Toxicology of herbal products and related contaminants. Databases consultation.

Course contents


Pharmacology (Prof. Tonelli)


General definition of Pharmacology, pharmacotherapy and their scopes. Concepts of Drug, medicament, poison.


Pharmacodinamics: sites and mechanisms of drug actions; Classifications of the receptors, time dependent dose/effect relations; agonist, partial agonist and antagonist drugs;  factors that modify the activity of the drugs; collateral effects induced by iperdose, idiosyncrasy and allergy; teratogenesis. Pharmacological and therapeutic effects.


Pharmacokinetics: general principles of the passage of the drugs through the biological membranes the blood brain barrier and the plancental barrier; routes of drug administration and absorbtion. Drug binding to the plasma proteins; Drug distribution; Drug biotransformation; drug elimination; bioavailability; drug half-life.

Evaluation of the pharmacokinetic parameters. Variability in the drug response: drug-dependent factors and pharmaceutical formulation-dependent factors; factors dependent from the person (genetic factors, dietetic factors, body weight, age, sex,

pregnancy, pathological states stati patologici, complications); factors related to the environment; factors related to the exposition conditions (tollerance; tachyphylaxis; physical and psychical dependence). Drug interactions.

Adverse effects of the drugs: dose-dependent effects, predictable and avoidable effects; predictable and unavoidable effects; dose-independent and unpredictable effects.

Abnormal responses to the drug administration: idiosyndratic reactions, allergic reactions.


Pharmacology of the nervous system, cardiovascular pharmacology, respiratory Pharmacology, Digestive pharmacology, inflammation pharmacology.



Toxicology (Dott.ssa Canistro)

Principles of Toxicology: Areas of toxicology; General characteristics of toxic agents; Spectrum of side effects; Exposure characteristics.

Factors influencing the toxicological response: Factors related to the toxic agent: Dose, Molecular characteristics, Toxicokinetics: absorption, distribution, biotransformation, elimination of toxic agents, Toxicodynamics: mechanisms of toxic action; Factors relating to the individual: Toxicogenomics (polymorphisms and individual susceptibility), age, gender, pathological conditions.

Experimental toxicological studies: GLP; Animal studies: scientific and ethical limits, extrapolation; Acute, sub-acute and chronic toxicity; Alternative methods to animal testing: ex vivo and in vitro tests.

No direct specific target organ toxicity: Genetic Toxicology; Carcinogenesis; Developmental and reproductive toxicity; Allocations.

Direct specific target organ toxicity: Toxic responses of the liver, kidney, skin, immune, respiratory and nervous systems.

Toxic agents: Pesticides; Metals; Food; GMOs.

Herbal products: Adverse reactions from herbal products; Herb-drug interactions; Phytovigilance; Risk assessment and risk / benefit ratio; The safety of dietary supplements. Case reports.

Databases consultation.


  1. Casaret & Doull - Elementi di Tossicologia - Casa Editrice Ambrosiana, Milano, ed. 2013.
  2. H. Greim, E. Deml - Tossicologia - Zanichelli, Bologna, I ed. 2000.

Teaching methods

Face to face or virtual (Teams) lectures in Italian.

Assessment methods

A final oral examination will ensure the acquisition of the knowledge and the skills expected. The test (face to face or virtual, approximately 30 minutes) will focus on the topics covered during the course.

Teaching tools

The educational material presented in class will be made available for the students in electronic format, on http://virtuale.unibo.it. Username and password are reserved for students enrolled at the University of Bologna.

Office hours

See the website of Donatella Canistro

See the website of Roberto Tonelli


Good health and well-being

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.