9 credits during the 1st year of 8762 Biological Sciences (L-13) GENOVA
GENOVA (Biological Sciences)
1° Semester
Teaching materials


The course of Cytology and Histology and Laboratory is structured starting with the study of the cell and then to study tissues and systems, with frequent references to important chemical and physical phenomena. Finally, the course also wants to give the essential guidelines on methods for studying cells and tissues. Part of the course will be devoted to the practical part (recognition of histological preparations) that will take place in well-equipped laboratories.



The course consists of theoretical lessons and practical exercises. The main purpose is to provide the basic knowledge of the eukaryotic cell at the morpho-functional and molecular level, and to understand how the cells are organized in different vertebrate tissues. At the end of the course the student will be able to recognize histologic specimens at the optical microscope.


The Attendance and participation in the planned training activities (lectures and laboratory activities) will allow the student to acquire the most important aspects of Cytology and Histology.
Specifically, the student will be able to:

1. know and describe the basic concepts on morphology, cellular and molecular organization of human tissues;

2. know and describe the functional properties of the various tissues and cells that compose them, focusing on physiopathological aspects as well.

3. know how to distinguish and identify the main tissues seen in the laboratory, even just by looking at photos or using a microscope.


General knowledge of chemistry, biology and genetics is needed to effectively address the teaching content.

Teaching methods

The module consists of frontal teaching and practical exercises in the laboratory with an optic microscope.
Lectures are carried out with the help of powerpoint presentations.





The program of the Cytology and Histology includes the presentation and discussion of the following topics:

Cells and life. The chemistry of the cell: proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids. The cell: structure and ultrastructure. Plasma membrane: structural models, membrane transport, glycocalyx, membrane specialization, internal membranes, and cell compartmentation. Cytoplasmic organization. Ribosomes, rough and smooth endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus, protein synthesis, lysosomes, and peroxisomes. Pinocytosis, endocytosis, exocytosis, and phagocytosis. Cytoskeleton, cell movement, and intracellular transport. Mitochondria. The nucleus: cytoskeleton and nucleoplasm. Chromatin, chromosomes, nucleole, karyotype, and sexual chromosomes. Cell cycle: mitosis and mitotic apparatus.

Histology: tissues and organs. Epithelial tissue. Main characteristics of epithelia. Lining epithelia: organization and classification. Structural surface differentiation of epithelial cells (microvilli, stereocilia, cilia). Secretory epithelia: exocrine glands and endocrine glands. Connective tissue: extracellular matrix: (fibers and ground substance). Cell components of connective tissue. Connective tissue proper. Support connective tissue: cartilage and bone tissue. Ossification. Blood and lymph. Hemopoietic system. Blood. Muscle tissue: striated skeletal and cardiac muscle, smooth muscle tissue. Myofibril structure and muscle contraction. Nerve tissue: neurons, glial cells, nerve fibers, synapses, and impulse transmission.

In the laboratory, will be carried out the following procedures: methods and instruments for the study of cell and tissue: optical and electronic microscopes, histological techniques, in vitro cell culture, immunocytochemistry. Preparation and observation of histological sections of the following tissues: epithelial (lining and glandular), connective (tissue proper, cartilage, bone, blood), muscular (smooth, skeletal striated and cardiac) and nervous.


All the PowerPoint presentations of the course and other teaching materials will be available on AulaWeb at the end of each cycle of laboratory lessons/exercises.

The indicated book is suggested as a supporting text, but students can also use other university-level texts. The recommended text is available and can be consulted at the M.F.N. School of Science Library and at the teacher's office.

Citologia, Istologia e Anatomia microscopica. A cura di Zaccheo D. e Pestarino M. Pearson Education Italia, Milano (Euro 74,00 – Libro + DVD).


Ricevimento: The students are able to book an appointment by phone, by mail or by aulaweb

Ricevimento: Students can book appointments with the professor


Teaching methods

The module consists of frontal teaching and practical exercises in the laboratory with an optic microscope.
Lectures are carried out with the help of powerpoint presentations.





For timetables of the lectures and laboratories please consult the following link:


Exam description

Details on how to prepare for the exam and the degree of detail required for each topic will be provided during the lectures.

The exam consists of a written and an oral part.

The written exam is carried out at the end of the laboratory exercises during which a test for the recognition of histological preparations will be performed by using an optical microscopes. This test is aimed at determining if the student is able to apply the knowledge acquired during laboratory exercises.

The oral exam is related to the topics covered during the course. It is always conducted by the teachers of course for at least 30 minutes (typically 45 minutes).

The final grade is given by the arithmetic average between the written test and the oral exam. The oral examination is supported only after passing the written laboratory test. The results of the test are published on AulaWeb by the teacher. Only students who have achieved a score of 17 are admitted to the oral exam. Three exam dates will be available in the winter session (January-February), and three in the summer session (June, July, September).



Assessment methods

The exam will verify the effective acquisition of the knowledge that allows the student to recognize a histological preparation and to describe the tissues and cells that compose it.

The student must be able to link and integrate the knowledge learned during the theoretical course and laboratory exercises.

The exam will also focus on the topics covered during the lectures and will have the purpose of evaluating both the correct understanding of the topics and the ability of the student to apply what has been acquired.

The commission will also evaluate the ability to present the arguments clearly and with correct terminology.
In this way, the commission will be able to verify with high accuracy the knowledge of the fundamental elements of the cell and tissues organization and the ability to link the various topics. When these are not achieved, the student is invited to deepen the study and to make use of further explanations by the professors.




Attendance at lessons is strongly recommended while that at laboratories in the measure of 70%.