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Academic year 2023/2024

Course ID
Simona Federica Spampinato
Degree course
Cellular and Molecular Biology
2nd year
Teaching period
To be defined
Course disciplinary sector (SSD)
BIO/14 - pharmacology
Formal authority
Type of examination
Students wishing to attend the course of Neuropharmacology should have a good knowledge of General Pharmacology

Sommario del corso


Course objectives

This teaching contributes to the learning objectives included into the Biomolecular area of the Master in Cellular and Molecular Biology - Biologia Cellulare e Molecolare- offering knowledge and applicative abilities aimed to provide students a deep and integrated knowledge on the treatment of the most relevant neuro and psychiatric disorders. In details, students should acquire an in-depth knowledge on neurophysiology, pathology and on the molecular mechanism of the principal classes of drugs, leading them to better understand the pharmacological interventions applied in neurological disorders. At the end of the course students will be given the necessary information to acquire the critical analysis skills and understand both preclincal and clinical pharmacological studies


Results of learning outcomes

KNOWLEDGE AND COMPREHENSION - At the end of the course students should have learned:

  • The main molecular mechanisms of the principal classes of drugs used in neurological disease
  • the main neurotransmitters and receptors present at the CNS and their role in the pathophysiology of neurological disorders
  • how to modulate their activity in pathological conditions

ABILITY TO APPLY KNOWLEDGE AND COMPREHENSION - The student should become able to integrate their knowledge on physiopathology and molecular and clinical pharmacology to fully understand how to treat the major classes of brain and mind disorders

Students will further gain research skills to characterize drug action and critically evaluate scientific publications regarding drugs involved in the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders

JUDGMENT AUTONOMY - The student should be able to evaluate and provide interpretation of experimental  preclinical and clinical pharmacological studies.


Course delivery

The course, delivered in presence consists, of 16 meetings. Each lecture will be followed by homework consisting of multiple-choice questions to train the Student learning. In association to frontal teaching, during which all the topics covered by program will be addressed, the critical reading of scientific articles will be proposed to the class, to deepen specific topics dealt during the previous meetings. The reading of the texts could be done  during the lesson, together with the teacher, or individually and then discussed collectively in the classroom. These discussion in the classroom will be useful to increase practical understanding and to develop a critical vision on the topics studied. Finally, a Neuropharmacology Forum will be open to post questions and/or doubts about the topics covered during the Neuropharmacology Course to increase the interaction between Students and Teacher and among Students.

All lectures will be delivered in presence, subject to updates on the measures adopted by UniTo which can be found on the University portal under "Provisions for those who study and work at UniTo" (see


Learning assessment methods

The exam will consist of an oral examination.

Brief article presentation (optional): students might give a short presentation before the end of the course based on Neuropharmacology articles selected through a biobliographic search activity. This presentation may provide additional points to the score of the final exam.


Exams will take place in presence, subject to updates on the measures adopted by UniTo which can be found on the University portal under "Provisions for those who study and work at UniTo" (see
Academic conduct: The penalty for course-related dishonesty (ei. cheating on exams, plagiarism, etc) will be a failure for the entire course.




1. Introduction to Neuropharmacology
2. Neurotransmitters and Receptor systems in the brain
3. Psychiatric disorders and drugs used to treat them                                                            4. Neurodegenerative disorders and drugs used to treat them
5. Sleep disorders and their treatment
6. Chronic pain and its treatment
7. Addiction and its mechanisms

Suggested readings and bibliography


The teaching materials used for the class lectures will be made available to registered students on the Moodle platform.

Reference Books:

Goodman & Gilman's "The pharmacological basis of therapeutics" Mc Graw Hill Ed.

Katzung "Basic & Clinical Pharmacology" Mc Graw Hill Ed.

Nestler, Hyman & Malenka's "Molecular Neuropharmacology" McGraw Hill Ed.

Stahl "Stahl's essential psychopharmacology" Cambridge Ed

Rang & Dale "Pharmacology" Elsevier Ed.

Francesco Clemente & Guido Fumagalli "General and Molecular Pharmacology" Wiley Ed.

Last update: 12/05/2024 09:44
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