14513 - Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Single cycle degree programme (LMCU) in Pharmacy (cod. 9219)

Learning outcomes

The aim of course is to provide exhaustive knowledge of molecular and cellular mechanism of actions of drugs and to provide informations on pharmacological modulation of cellular response, molecular aspects of receptors, modulation of intracellular signalling and gene expression. Drug is considered not only for its therapeutic function but also as a tool to investigate biological phenomena and to design new drugs.

Course contents

Pharmacological modulation of drug-receptor interaction

Receptors and signal transduction: Analysis of dose-response curves of drugs; Methods to study drug-receptor interactions; Receptor classification and Modulation of receptor responses.

Channel receptors: molecular organization, activation and modulation; Receptors coupled to G proteins: molecular organization, activation and modulation; Growth factor receptors: Molecular organization, activation and modulation.

Pharmacological modulation of intracellular signal transduction mechanisms. Membrane transduction: second messengers, effector systems; kinases and mechanisms of phosphorylation, main signaling pathways: mTOR, MAPK, PPARs.

Modulation of receptor responses: desensitization - down-regulation - internalization, up-regulation - endocytic trafficking. Biased agonism.

Pharmacological modulation of gene expression

Intracellular mechanisms of gene expression regulation . Pharmacology of gene transcription - Intracellular receptors - Genetic code inhibitors - Pharmacological use of synthetic oligonucleotides - Gene therapy - Vectors and methods of gene transfer.

3R rules and preclinical investigation in animal models - applications in pharmacology.

Alternative models in preclinical investigation (cell cultures, stem cells, C. elegans, zebrafish) - applications in pharmacology.

Use of molecular biology methods for the pharmacological characterization of peptide drugs and their receptors, applied to pharmacology: Real Time qPCR, Western Blotting, Chip, CRISPR-Cas9.

Neuronal transmission

Dopamine system - old and new evidence

Serotonin system - old and new evidence

Endogenous opioid system - old and new evidence

Endocannabinoid system - old and new evidence

BDNF neurotrophic factor and CRF corticotropin release factor - old and new evidence

Glutamatergic system - old and new evidence

GABAergic system - old and new evidence

Oxidative stress and proteasome - applications in pharmacology.

Epigenetics and epigenetic drugs.


F. Clementi, G. Fumagalli, "Farmacologia generale e molecolare" EDRA, V^ Edizione, 2018.

Goodman and Gilman "La basi farmacologiche della Terapia" ZANICHELLI XII^ Edizione 2016.

Katzung, Farmacologia e Farmacoterapia clinica , PICCIN 2017.

Teaching methods

Frontal lessons

Assessment methods

The final test consists of an oral or on line examination (depending on the italian conditions on pandemia) concerning the topic. The examination verifies the reachment of the teaching goals: the knowledge of the basic principle of Cellular and Molecular pharmacology . The final score leading to 4CFU will come out by means of 3 questions exam dealing with topisc related to the program.

The exam consists of 3 questions.

First question deals with the pharmacological modulation of drug-receptor interactions, transduction signalling, molecular characterizations of receptors, as indicated in the program.

Second question deals with the pharmacological modulation of gene expression regulation, as indicated in the program.

Third question deals with the pharmacological modulation of neurotransmission, as indicated in the program.

Further questions may be given in needed case. The test lastes about 30 minutes.

The final score will be the result of a global judgement obtained in the three questions, based on the capacity of the student to talk about the items and to demonstrate the knowledge of the pharmacological principles, together with the possibility to be rewarded with excellence scores when he is able to show a profound knowledge and specific property of language.

Teaching tools

PPT  presentations, available in IOL platform

Office hours

See the website of Patrizia Romualdi


Good health and well-being Quality education Climate Action

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