84350 - Physiology of Genito-Urinary and Reproductive Systems

Course Unit Page


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

Good health and well-being Quality education Gender equality

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

Understand the importance of the integration of physiological processes from the molecular level to complex systems. Describe the functional properties of the kidney, and the mechanisms of filtration, absorption and secretion. Discuss the mechanisms involved in fluid and salt homestasis, acid-base balance, and their adaptation to different physiological states. Identify reproductive hormones and describe the function of male and female reproductive systems. Describe the principles of growth and body development.

Course contents

Functions of the renal glomerulus

Plasma and renal blood flow. Filtration process. Glomerular filtration rate: clearance of inulin; plasma creatinine. Filtration fraction. Autoregulation of renal blood flow and glomerular filtration rate.

Functions of the renal tubule

Absorption and secretion in the tubule (sodium, potassium, chloride, water, hydrogen ions, bicarbonate). Control of renal potassium and sodium homeostasis.

Regulation of body fluids osmolarity and volume

Fluid compartments of the body. Neurohypophyseal secretion of antidiuretic hormone. Renal mechanisms for concentration and dilution of urine. Mechanisms of countercurrent multiplier (loop of Henle) and countercurrent exchange (vasa recta). Osmolar clearance and free-water clearance. Effective circulating volume. Mechanisms of regulation of extracellular fluid volume: volume receptors; the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system and natriuretic peptides. Regulation of water intake. Thirst mechanism.

Regulation of acid-base balance

Concentration of hydrogen ions in the blood and blood buffer systems. Kidney and respiratory responses to changes in acid-base balance. Primary acid-base alterations: acidosis and alkalosis of respiratory and metabolic origin; compensatory responses to primary acid-base alterations.


Regulation of the arterial pressure

Role of kidneys and of hormones in the regulation of the arterial pressure.

Genital system: male reproductive functions

Spermatogenesis. Seminal fluid composition. Hormonal control of male reproductive functions: secretion and actions of gonadotropins and androgens.

Genital system: female reproductive functions

Oogenesis. Menstrual cycle. Endometrial cycle. Hormonal control of female reproductive functions: secretion and actions of gonadotropins, estrogens and progesterone. Male and female sexual act, puberty, menopause. Hormonal changes during pregnancy.

Development and growth

Influences of hormones on the development and growth.


Guyton & Hall, Textbook of Medical Physiology, Elsevier

Boron and Boulpaep, Medical Physiology, Elsevier

Students can find these books also in the Biblioteca Biomedica, via Filippo Re, Bologna.

All relevant material will be published in IOL platform.

Teaching methods

Frontal lessons using Power Point presentations.

Attendance to learning activities is mandatory; the minimum attendance requirement to be admitted to the final exam is 60% of lessons. For Integrated Courses (IC), the 60% attendance requirement refers to the total amount of I.C. lessons. Students who fail to meet the minimum attendance requirement will not be admitted to the final exam of the course, and will have to attend relevant classes again during the next academic year.

Professors may authorise excused absences upon receipt of proper justifying documentation, in case of illness or serious reasons. Excused absences do not count against a student’s attendance record to determine their minimum attendance requirement.

Assessment methods

The final examination consists of an oral test in which the student will discuss mainly two different topics taken from the program. As part of the interview, questions will also be asked to evaluate the depth of the knowledge on the two topics and on other topics of the program, the critical thinking ability that links together different aspects of knowledge and the achievement of a comprehensive understanding of the topics addressed in class.

The exam will be considered passed if the student has demonstrated sufficient knowledge in each topic.

The student’s ability to move across the various topics of the Physiology program will be also evaluated. The student’s achievement of a comprehensive view of the topics addressed in class, together with their critical thought, the ability to make associations, the demonstration of rich and intelligible expression and use of specialist’s language will be evaluated with scores of excellence.


IMPORTANT POINT: Anatomy and physiology modules. Each module's mark will remain valid for 12 months. NO EXCEPTIONS will be made.

Teaching tools

Lectures will be done in a Power Point presentation format. The material for the slides (e.g. figures, photos) will come mainly from the suggested textbooks. All relevant teaching material will be available on the designated digital platforms (servers) of the University (IOL platform).

In order to prepare for the exam it is suggested to attend actively the lectures, study from a textbook and use both the notes taken during lectures and the material put by the professor on the server of the University.

Office hours

See the website of Rossella Breveglieri