72723 - General Pathology 2 and Pathological Anatomy of Laboratory Animals

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2023/2024

Learning outcomes

This course will focus on the application of new technologies to the study of genetic disorders and cancer. The Students will acquire the appropriate knowledge of some animal models for cancer analysis.

The course will focus also on necroscopy techniques, cadaveric phenomenology, sampling techniques for cytological and histological microscopic examinations. The student acquires knowledge on the main diseases of mice, rats, rabbits. At the end of the course the student is able to perform a necroscopy, to detect cadaveric phenomena and to recognize and describe a lesion macroscopically.

Course contents

Module 1- General Pathology 2

  • Main concepts of genetics and genetic mutation
  • Laboratory methods used in biomedical research: histology, cytology, classic and molecular cytogenetics and in situ techniques (immunohistochemistry, immunocytochemistry, chromogenic and fluorescence in situ hybridization)
  • Laboratory mice and rats: Nomenclature of mice and strains most commonly used as animal models of disease ( C57BL/6, BALB/c, CD-1, SCID, and A/J). Basics of strain phenotyping. Spontaneous pathology of common mice strains. Generation of transgenic, Knock-out, knock-in mice, inducible and conditional, Cre-Lox technique. Concepts of xenograft models (CDX, PDX). 
  • Murine models of human diseases (atherosclerosis, diabetes, Alzheimer, cardiovascular disease)

Module 2-Necropsy techniques of laboratory animals.

Necroscopy techniques applied to laboratory animals. Sampling techniques for microscopic cytological and histological examinations. Terminology in anatomic pathology. Mouse pathology: mouse hepatitis virus (MHV), murine encephalomyelitis, lymphocytis coryomeningitis, mousepox (ectromelia) virus, lactate-dehydrogenase-raising virus, epizootic diarrhea of infant Mice (EDIM), Helicobacter infection, colon murine hyperplasia by Citrobacter rodentium; "Scaly skin" by Corynebacterium bovis, Pneumocystis infection, amiliodosis, acidophilic macrophage pneumonia, ringtail, barbering, neoplasms. Rat pathology: sialodacrydenitis, parvovirus infection, Sendai virus, mycoplasmosis, cilia associated respiratory bacillus, Tyzzer's disease, corynebacteriosis, chronic progressive nephropathy, polyarteritis nodosa, malocclusion, auricular chondritis, neoplasms. Rabbit pathology: mixomatosis, Shope fibroma, viral haemorrhagic disease, clostridiosis, pasteurellosis, encephalitozoonosis, hepatic coccidiosis, mucoid enteropathy, mange, foot skin ulcers, malocclusion.


Teaching material is available in the relative web page virtuale.unibo.it  (course page). 

Module 1- General Pathology 1

  • Marten H. Hofker & Jan van Deursen. Transgenic mouse methods and protocols. 4th Ed. Humana Press 2011.

Module 2- Anatomic pathology of laboratory animals

  • Barthold SW, Griffey SM, Percy DH: Pathology of laboratory rodents and rabbits. Fourth edition, Blackwell, 2016
  • McGavin DM, Zachary JF. Patologia Sistematica Veterinaria. Quarta ed., Elsevier Srl, 2010, Milano.


Teaching methods

Module 1- General pathology 2

The main teaching method consists of frontal lectures which will cover the basics of the topic. To consolidate the acquired knowledge on murine models of disease, there will be group discussions wich pratical examples of use of mice in biomedical research. 

Module 2- Anatomic pathology of laboratory animals

Theory: frontal lectures required to cover the basics on necropsy techniques and morphological changes in the main diseases of the species discussed. 

Practical: classes will be supported by practical activities on necropsy techniques in laboratory animals, followed by interpretation of findings. THe aim of the practical classes is to gain confidence with necropsy manual skills. 

Assessment methods

1) Group work on animal models. Each group will be assigned a a specific animal model (from journal article) and will presents the topic to the rest of the class. The group will be evaluated on the basis of the quality of the data and quality of presentation. Group work component will contribute with 2 points to the final grade.

2) Written exam of General Pathology 2 (Module 1) and Anatomic Pathology of Laboratory Animals (Module 2, theory)

Written exam consisting of 18 MCQ and 2 Short-answer questions and 2 Long answer questions. Duration of the exam will be 120 minutes. This component will account for 20 points of the final grade.

The final exam aims at verifying the achievement of the following learning objectives:

  • to be familiar with the main murine strains used in biomedical research, including nomenclature and phenotyping
  • to be familiar with the main murine models used to study the most important human diseases
  • to be familiar with the most important, up-to-date cytogenetics and molecular biology techniques used in biomedical research.

3) Practical exam of Module 2- Anatomic pathology of laboratory animals

  The practical exam aims to test the manual skills to perform the necropsy exam. THe practical part will contribute with 10 points to the final mark. 

The final mark will be obtained from the total sum of the scores from thethree parts.

For both modules the following scoring criteria will be applied to the written, oral and practical parts. 

  • Limited knowledge and limited analysis skills, mostly when prompted, basic manual skills and overall correct terminology (18-20)
  • Limited knolwdge, limited independent analysis skills, correct and confident manual skills, overall adequate terminology (21-24)
  • Broad knowledge of most topics, ability to independently and critically analize facts, confident manual skills, ability to communicate effectively (25-29)
  • Broad knowledge of all topics, ability to indipendently and critically analyze and connect facts, confident manual skills, ability to communicate effectively (30-30L)


Teaching tools

Digital slides. Lectures will be supplied on informatics support.

Office hours

See the website of Barbara Bacci

See the website of Giancarlo Avallone