65155 - Neurology

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

Define the bio-molecular bases of neuronal physiology with particular reference to protein and mitochondrial metabolism Discuss the molecular and cellular etiopathogenesis of the main neurodegenerative, autoimmune and mitochondrial encephalopathies Describe examples of molecular-phenotypic correlations in the field of neurodegenerative diseases Critically evaluate the main molecular and biochemical techniques for the in vivo and post-mortem diagnosis of both genetic and sporadic diseases of the nervous system Apply molecular biology techniques to the study of neurological problems.

Course contents

Module A – course content (Prof. Valerio Carelli)

Introductory concepts to cell pathological mechanisms leading to neurodegeneration: from cell energetic metabolism to oxidative stress, quality control of organelles and cell death pathways

Mitochondrial diseases as models of neurodegeneration:

  • Heteroplasmic mtDNA mutations: the case of MELAS syndrome

  • Mitochondrial optic neuropathies: how two genomes may kill retinal ganglion cells

  • Mitochondrial pathogenesis of Parkinsonism

Circadian dysfunction and neurodegeneration

Cell and animal models

Therapeutic strategies

Module B – course content (Prof. Piero Parchi)

Introduction to Neurodegenerative Diseases: Basic concepts of protein folding and misfolding, amyloid formation, cell to cell prion-like transmission, prion strains

Molecular pathology and phenotypic spectrum of major neurodegenerative disorders:

  • Prion diseases

  • Alzheimer’s disease

  • Parkinson’s disease and other synucleinopathies

  • Frontotemporal dementia spectrum

Biofluid diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers in neurology

Pathogenesis and phenotypic expression of the major autoimmune neurological disorders with secondary neurodegeneration (multiple sclerosis, paraneoplastic and antibody-mediated encephalitis, narcolepsy)


Slide presentations and suggested reviews.

Teaching methods

Teaching lectures.

Assessment methods

The exam consists of an oral interview with specific questions on at least two topics.

Teaching tools

Power point slides.

Office hours

See the website of Piero Parchi

See the website of