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Second Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)


This course is aimed at providing the essential tools for the understanding of the effects of toxic substances, with particular focus on drugs and abused drugs, on humans and animals, in terms of molecular, cellular and subcellular interaction as well as in terms of systems. The learner will be able to understand:
- the structure-activity and dose-response relationships of toxicants, the basic principles of toxicological risk arising from exposure to xenobiotic, with particular reference to the pharmacological active compounds;
- how xenobiotics and drugs are distributed in the body and in particular their absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion; and evaluation of their toxicity and factors that influence toxicity.
- Quantitative methods in measuring acute and chronic toxicity.
- Understanding the mechanisms used by xenobiotics and drugs to induce the alteration of biological structures, the function of organs and systems, and how these alterations lead to the onset of toxic effects;
- The assessment of the toxicological risk, particularly in the early stages of pre-clinical trials of a drug.


Knowldge of General and Organic Chemistry and basics of Biochemistry.
Propaedeutic teachings: General Toxicology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Fisiology


Classification of the toxic effects induced by drugs: mechanisms of action, excessive and prolonged exposure, enzymatic deficiency, hypersensitivity reactions.
Toxic Responses of the Blood: Blood as a target organ. Hematopoiesis. Anaemia and toxic effects induced by therapeutic agents. Hypoxia.
Toxic Responses of the Immune System: Methods to assess immunocompetence. Immune modulation by therapeutic agents. Hypersensitivity, Autoimmunity.
Toxic Responses of the Respiratory System: General principles in phatogenesis of lung damage caused by chemicals. Acute and chronic responses of the lungs to injuries. Agents known to produce lung injuries in humans.
Toxic Responses of the Kidney: Assessment of renal toxicity. Phatophysiologic responses of the kidney. Biochemical mechanism/mediators of renal cell injury. Specific nefrotoxicity by thearapeutic agents.
Toxic Responses of the Liver : Liver phisiology and phatophisiology. Mechanism of liver toxicity by chemical and therapeutic agents. Critical factors in toxicant-induced liver injuries: biotransformation, alteration of the blood efflux. Steatosis, cholestasis, necrosis, cirrhosis. Toxicity of nonsteroidal antinflammatory agents/analgesics.
Toxic Responses of the Nervous System. Neuronopathies. Assonopathies. Myelinopathies. Neurotransmission-associated neurotoxicity. Chemicals that induce neurotoxicity (antidepressant, antipsychotics, antiparkinson, hypnotic, ansiolythic).
Toxic Responses of the Skin. Skin as a barrier. Contact dermatitis. Phototoxicology.
Toxic Responses of the Reproductive System. Classificationof thetatogens (FDA). Effect of drugs on the embrional development. Evaluation of drug theratogenity.

Neurotransmission and the central nervous system (10 hs)
- dopaminergic system
- opioid system
- cholinergic system
- serotoninergic system
- GABA system
- cannabinoid system

Drug dependence (5 hs)
- Diagnosis
- Tollerance e sensitization
- Withdrawal syndrome
- Neurobiology and Theories on Addiction

Experimental models of drug addiction (3 hs)

Opioids analgesic (4 hs)
CNS stimulants (4 hs)
Ethanol and CNS depressant (4 hs)
Cannabinoids (4 hs)
Novel Psychoactive Substances (6 hs)

Teaching Methods

The course consists of 80 hs of frontal lesson. Two hour lessons will be provided three days a week and the course will be completed in about 3 months. During the teaching the student will have chances to interact with the professor, in order to gain further details on the subjects exposed.

Verification of learning

The evaluation of the student knowledge of course contents will be performed frequently during the lessons through questions aimed to check the assimilation of the content delivered in terms of knowledge and ability to use them in a discussion. A more formal assessment will be performed at the end of the first part of the course (general toxicology). This test will consist of a number of questions to be answered with a short reply aimed to check knowledge and ability to use the course content for solving simple problems. The second test will consist of 6 questions each one will check the ability to respond on the different parts of the systematic toxicity. The evaluation of the results of the test will contribute to the final evaluation that will also include an oral exam in which the student will be asked to discuss on one subject, on which the student has not been challenged previously. The final vote, expressed in 18-30/30 will be formulated taking into account this basic scheme.


Casarett & Doulls: Tossicologia: i fondamenti dellazione delle sostanze tossiche. EMSI Roma
Balduini W e Costa LG: Tossicologia generale ed applicata ai farmaci. EDRA

More Information

As a teaching aid the slides of the lessons are provided to students by the Teacher.

Questionnaire and social

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