Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

The course presents the biochemical processes associated with exercise. The student should understand the molecular basis of training and exercise as well as the biochemistry of the organism adaptions responsible of performance enhancement and associated to the beneficial effect of exercise on human health.  At the end of the course , the student also knows the prohibited list and the Worl Anti-doping Code. The student knows the mechanism of action of doping substances, the toxic effects and the health risk associated to doping.

Course contents

Unit 1: Sport Biochemistry

Exercise metabolism and bioenergetics

Metabolic biochemistry of exercise.

Integrated catabolism of carbohydrates and lipids. Amino acid metabolism.

Bioenergetic of exercise. Aerobic endurance exercise. Anaerobic resistance exercise. Gender differences.

Integrated Biochemistry of exercise

Effect of exercise on the levels of circulating hormones and hormone-like effectors.

Muscle as an endocrine tissue.

Energetic and endocrine function of adipose tissue.

Cardiac metabolism.

Biochemical adaptions in training

Biochemical mechanisms in training. The role of stress in muscle adaption. Metabolic adaption following aerobic or anaerobic training.

Biochemical adaptions in sprint training and in endurance exercise.

The regulation of the muscle mass. Biochemistry of muscle hypertrophy.

Biomarkers of physical activity

Meaning of the clinical determination of specific molecules: metabolites, proteins, hormones, stress markers.


Unit 2: Pharmacology in Sports

Introduction to the use of drugs in Sport: principles of pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic and drug toxicity.

Drug abuse and doping: general aspects and epidemiology.

International regulatory aspects for doping : World Anti-Doping Code; Medicinal products subject to restrictions and their prescription in case of therapeutic use; request for exemption for therapeutic purposes; declaration of therapeutic use. The doping controls.

List of substances and medical practices considered doping.

Pharmaco-toxicological aspects of different classes of prohibited drugs:

S0 non approved drugs

S1 Anabolic agents: Anabolic androgenic steroids

S2 Peptide hormones: erythropoiesis-stimulating agents, growth hormone

S3 Beta 2-agonists

S4 Hormonal and metabolic modulators: aromatase inhibitors, selective estrogen receptor modulators, agents that modify the function of myostatin, insulins, PPAR-delta receptor agonists

S5 Diuretics and masking agents

S6 Stimulants: amphetamines, cocaine, ephedrine. Substances included in the monitoring program

S7 Narcotics: morphine, heroin, methadone

S8 Cannabinoids

S9 Glucocorticosteroids

Prohibited methods:

M1 enhancement of oxygen transfer

M2 chemical and physical manipulation

M3 gene doping

Prohibited substances in some sports:

P1 Alcohol

P2 Beta blockers

Doping and addiction

Doping and sudden/unexpected death syndrome


Di Giulio, Fiorilli, Stefanelli. BIOCHIMICA PER LE SCIENZE MOTORIE. Casa editrice Ambrosiana, 2011

Maughan, Gleeson, Greenhaff, Biochemistry of exercise and training. Oxford University Press, 2000.

Ferrara S.D. – Doping Antidoping – Piccin, Padova 2004

Mottran D.R. – Farmaci e sport – Casa Editrice Ambrosiana, Milano 2003.

Teaching methods

Lectures, seminars on selected topics. 

The course is divided in 2 modules:

Biochemistry in sport (24 h) by Prof Claudio Stefanelli

Pharmacology in sport (18 h) by Dr  Eleonora Turrini

Assessment methods

The final test consists of an oral interview for both modules.The student will get a mark, for each module, on the basis of his capacity to answer questions.  The two partial marks contribute to the final mark.

Teaching tools

The teaching material presented at the lectures is available as electronic format on internet. The material should be printed and brought to class. To get teaching material: http://campus.unibo.it/. Username e password are restricted for students enrolled at University of Bologna.

Office hours

See the website of Claudio Stefanelli

See the website of Eleonora Turrini