78786 - General Pathology and Immunology

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Biotechnology (cod. 8005)

Learning outcomes

The students will learn the etiology and the pathogenetic mechanisms of human diseases, the basic reactions to abnormal stimuli, the morphological changes they induce in cells and tissues, together with the systemic and functional consequences for the organism. The Students will acquire the appropriate knowledge of the disease's denomination and of medical terminology.

Course contents



General pathology. Concepts of disease, etiology and pathogenesis. Cell damage, damage mechanisms in hypoxia, damage from radiation and oxidizing radicals. Storage damage: lysosomal storage diseases, accumulation of triglycerides (fatty liver) and atherosclerosis. Accumulation of pigments: jaundice, anthracosis. Silicosis and iron accumulation.

Cellular adaptations: hypertrophy (cardiac hypertrophy) and hyperplasia; atrophy and aplasia. Metaplasia and dysplasia

Cell death: coagulative, colliquative, caseous necrosis, gangrene. Apoptosis: activation pathways of apoptotic signals, intrinsic and extrinsic pathways.

Acute inflammation: characteristic signs and etiology; alterations of the microcirculation and formation of exudate; cell recruitment and phagocytosis; PAMPs and DAMPs and their recognition (KIR receptors, Toll-like receptors, etc.) chemical mediators; classification and outcomes; systemic effects. Chronic inflammation: role of macrophages; non-specific forms; granulomas; tuberculous disease.


Immunology and immunopathology. General characteristics of the immune response. Primary and secondary response. Innate and acquired immunity. Cells and tissues of the immune system. Lymphocytes, macrophages, granulocytes, dendritic cells. Leukocyte formula. Innate immunity: general characteristics. Components of innate immunity: physical barriers, antimicrobial proteins, professional phagocytes, NK cells, gamma / delta T lymphocytes. Mechanisms of phagocytosis and NK cytotoxicity. Antibodies: general characteristics, structure and functions of the different antibody classes (IgG, IgA, IgM, IgE and IgD). Antibody specificity, rearrangement of immunoglobin genes and mechanisms that determine antibody variability and affinity. Variability and maturation of T cell receptors. Presentation of antigen to the T cell receptor: restriction for MHC. Functional biological significance of the restriction. Characteristics of class I and II MHC molecules. Unusual MHC (HLA-E, G and DM). maturation and activation of B lymphocytes and production of antibodies. B-T cooperation. Distinction between thymus-dependent and thymus-independent antigens. T lymphocyte maturation and activation. T helper and cytotoxic lymphocytes. Th subpopulations (Th1, Th2, Th17 and TF). Outline of Th functions (cytokine production, costimulation). T response regulation, peripheral tolerance. Effector mechanisms of immune response mediated by antibodies and T lymphocytes.

Repair, granulation tissue, scar formation. Fibrosis.

Neoplasms: classification; epidemiology; the molecular basis of cancer; tumor growth biology; carcinogens and their cellular interactions; tumor immunity; grade and stage of tumors; laboratory diagnosis of neoplasms.


  • Celotti F., "Patologia Generale e Fisiopatologia", 2a edizione, Edises

  • Kumar V., Abbass A.K., Fausto N., Aster J.C. “Robbins - Fondamenti di Patologia e Fisiopatologia”, Elsevier Italia

  • Albi E., Ambesi-Impiombato F.S., Curcio F., Moncharmont B., Palese A. "Le Basi Cellulari e Molecolari delle Malattie". Edizioni Idelson-Gnocchi.

  • Pontieri G.M. "Elementi di Patologia Generale". Edizioni Piccin.

  • Immunologia Cellulare e Molecolare. Abbas, Lichtman.


Teaching methods

Power Point support will be utilised during the lessons and a copy of it will be available for the Students.

Assessment methods

The final grade is defined, through an oral or written examination, on the average of the marks obtained in topics covered during the course. The evaluation will consider the capability to explain the contents in a synthetic and complete fashion.

The exam will consist of two open questions. In order to pass the test, it is mandatory to answer both questions satisfactorily.

The exam in written form will consist of 30 multiple choice questions (0.5 points per question) and 2 open questions (7.5 points per question).

In order to go through the final exam, the students must register in the electronic board respecting the deadline. Students that are not able to register can be admitted to the final proof anyway, provided they contact the professor by e-mail before the expected deadline.

Teaching tools

Lectures will be supplied on informatic supports (https://virtuale.unibo.it/)

Office hours

See the website of Dario De Biase


Good health and well-being

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