03766 - Immunology

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Stefano Salvioli

  • Learning modules Miriam Capri (Modulo 1)
    Stefano Salvioli (Modulo 2)

  • Credits 5

  • SSD MED/04

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures (Modulo 1)
    Traditional lectures (Modulo 2)

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Forli

  • Degree Programme Single cycle degree programme (LMCU) in Medicine and Surgery (cod. 5709)

  • Course Timetable from Oct 06, 2021 to Nov 11, 2021

    Course Timetable from Nov 17, 2021 to Dec 15, 2021

Academic Year 2021/2022

Course contents

Lectures held by Prof. Miriam Capri

Introduction to the Immune System (SI): functions and characteristics of the SI; nomenclature and definitions; innate and specific immunity; immune system cells: lymphocytes, macrophages, granulocytes, dendritic cells, etc. Primary and secondary response.

SI organs and tissues: generative and secondary organs (bone marrow, thymus, lymph nodes, spleen, SI associated with mucosae and membranes). Lymphatic system and lymphocyte recirculation.

Innate immunity: physical barriers, preformed proteins, professional phagocytes, NK, NKT cells, gamma-delta lymphocytes. Mechanisms of phagocytosis and killing of pathogens. Role and receptors of NK cells (NKC, LRC). Mechanisms of antigen recognition in innate immunity (TLR, RIG, NLR and inflammasome). The memory of Innate Immunity: trained immunity.

Specific immunity: characteristics and functions, cell antigen receptors of the specific immunity (membrane antibodies and TCR), antigen recognition; generation of the repertoire of receptors, somatic recombination, clonal distribution. MHC molecules, antigen processing and presentation; proteasome and immunoproteasome. Dendritic cells.

B lymphocytes: characteristics of B lymphocytes, development, maturation and activation; structure of the B cell antigen receptor; role in the immune response: secreted antibodies: functions, classification. Monoclonal antibodies, uses in diagnosis and therapy.

T lymphocytes: characteristics of helper (CD4 +) and cytotoxic (CD8 +) T lymphocytes, development and activation; structure of the antigen receptor of T lymphocytes; functions in the immune response: cell-mediated immunity. Production of cytokines, Th1, Th2, innate and induced Treg lymphocytes. Cytotoxic action. Regional immunity: the intestinal mucous membranes. Relations with the intestinal microbiota; Th17 lymphocytes. Engineered T lymphocytes: CAR-T cells.

Cooperation between T, B and APC cells: costimulation; the role of accessory molecules; T-dependent and T-independent responses; T response suppression. Cytokines and Cytokine Receptors. Th1 and Th2 responses.

Tolerance: discrimination between self and non-self; self-tolerance. Mechanisms of central tolerance and peripheral tolerance (anergy, deletion, suppression).

Effector phases of the immune response: Activation of M1 and M2 macrophages; delayed-type hypersensitivity; activation of cytotoxic T lymphocytes.

Lectures held by Pro. Stefano Salvioli

Completion of the effector mechanisms of humoral immunity: the complement system, its regulation and possible deficits.

Immunity to pathogens: extra and intra-cellular bacteria, viruses and parasites. Overview of the mechanisms of the immune system responses to pathogens and mechanisms of evasion of the immune response by pathogens. Types of vaccines and compulsory vaccinations: vaccination strategies and risk assessment.

Immunopathology: the alterations of the immune response; classification of immunopathologies; type I hypersensitivity: allergy; hypersensitivity of type II, III and IV; disruption of tolerance and autoimmune diseases in types II-III-IV.

Congenital immunodeficiencies related to innate and adaptive immunity. Acquired immunodeficiencies: HIV and AIDS.

Transplant immunology: classification of transplants: auto-, allo- and xenografts; biological basis of transplant rejection; the types of rejection; GVHD; strategies to avoid rejection: HLA typing, immunosuppressive drugs

Immunity and cancer: antigenic characteristics of tumors; capacity of the S.I. to recognize cancer cells. Immunotherapies: Monoclonal Ab, CAR-T cells.

How SI Ages: Immunosenescence. Consequences of decreased immune response on susceptibility to age-associated diseases. Inflammation as an immunological driver of aging (inflammaging). Inflammatory storm and cytokine release: the case of Covid-19.


Abbas, Lichtman, Pillai: Immunologia Cellulare e Molecolare, 2018 (nona edizione), EDRA.

Murphy & Weaver: immunologia di Janeway, 2019 (nona edizione), Piccin.

Geha, Notarangelo: Casi Studio in Immunologia, 2019 (settima edizione), Piccin.

Teaching methods

frontal lectures with ppt slides

Assessment methods

Students will have access to the exam if they have attended at least 66% of the lectures.

The learning assessment is in written form and consists of two parts:

- the first part consists of two free-answer questions on themes of the Course. Every question can contribute to the final mark with 10 points out of 30. Insufficient answer (<6 out of 10) to one of these questions leads to test failure with no further evaluation of the second part.

- the second part consists of 40 quiz of the type "true-or-false" on themes of the Course. Every correct answer contributes with 3/10 points, every wrong answer leads to a penalty of -1/10. The total points available for this parts are 12.

Further information on exam evaluation can be be required during the first lesson of the Course.

Warning: in case of Covid-19 pandemic reactivation, it is possible that exams and lectures will be required to be done in remote. In this case, exams will be given online with the Microsoft Teams platform in oral form. Students must register as usual in Almaesami, and they will receive an e-mail with the link and timetable of the exam session.

In case of changes of exam modes, students will be promptly notified, both during lectures and on Almaesami website.

The aim of the oral exam is to evaluate the knowledge of the student on the course's topics and the capability to perform logical connections.

Grading procedure:

- knowledge of a very limited number of topics and limited analytical capacity → 18-19 out of 30;

- knowledge of a limited number of topics and basic analytical capacity → 20-24 out of 30;

- knowledge of a consistent number of topics and good analytical capacity → 25-29 out of 30;

- knowledge of all topics and very good analytical capacity → 30-30L out of 30.

Attention: a single exam mark will be registered for the Integrated Course by averaging the two marks of Immunology and Molecular Pathology.

The person in charge of the registration is the Responsible for the Integrated Course.

It is strongly suggested to obtain the marks for the two parts of the Integrated Course (immunology and Molecular Pathology) within one year.

Teaching tools

power point  and pdf files available at


Office hours

See the website of Stefano Salvioli

See the website of Miriam Capri