Enrollment year
Academic year
Academic discipline
Year of study
1st semester (05/10/2020 - 14/01/2021)
Lesson hours
48 lesson hours
Activity type
Basic knowledge of Human Neuroanatomy
Learning outcomes
To acquire basic knowledge on both the microscopic structure of the
human nervous tissue and the organization of the human nervous system
from the anatomo-topographic point of view. To achieve competence on
neuronal pathways suitable for studying the localization of the brain and
the peripheral nervous system functions.
To develop communication skills on the subject, using appropriate
neuroanatomical terminology and organized descriptive ability.
Course contents
Notions of histology of the nervous tissue: subcellular organization of the
neuron with particular reference to the structural and ultrastructural
characteristics of soma, axon, dendrites and synapses. Heterogeneity of
neurons: morphological, neurochemical and functional classification
criteria. Glial cells: morpho-functional characteristics of the different glial
cytotypes of the central and peripheral nervous system. The myelin
Organization of the central and peripheral nervous system.
The spinal cord: external conformation; subdivisions, organization and
structure of the grey and white matter; spinal reflexes. Spinal ganglia.
Spinal nerves.
The brainstem: external and internal conformation of medulla oblongata,
pons and midbrain. The nuclei of the cranial nerves, the brainstem nuclei,
the reticular formation; the IV ventricle. Cranial nerves and basal ganglia.
The cerebellum: structure, cytoarchitecture, functional subdivisions and
related archi-, paleo- and neo-cerebellar connections.
The diencephalon: topography and subdivisions; the thalamus and the
metathalamus, the epithalamic formations, the periventricular
hypothalamus and its neuroendocrine relations, the subthalamus. The III
The telencephalon: external and internal conformation. The neopallial
telencephalic cortex: cytoarchitecture, regional differences, cortical areas
and functional correlations; the paleopallial cortex and the olfactory
pathways; the archipallial cortex. The white substance: the associative,
commissural and projection systems; the internal capsule. The grey
nuclei of the telencephalic base: the extrapyramidal circuits of motor
control. The limbic system. The lateral ventricles.
Main nerve pathways: pyramidal pathways, extrapyramidal pathways,
somatic sensitivity pathways, olfactory pathways, optical pathways, taste
pathways, acoustic pathways.
Organization of the autonomic nervous system. Orthosympathetic and
parasympathetic nervous system.
Receptors and sense organs. Anatomy of visual function, taste and smell
sense (individual variability of taste and olfactory functions; sensory
mechanisms implicated in individual eating behavior); anatomy of hearing and balance.
Vascularization of the central nervous system, ventricular cavities,
meninges, blood-brain barrier.
Teaching methods
The course lasts about 12 weeks (4 hours of lessons per week). Lessons will be performed by using Power Point presentations.
Reccomended or required readings
One of the following books is recommended to study:

Alessandro Vercelli, Marina Boido, Giuseppe Bertini et al.
Neuroanatomia Funzionale
Ed. Idelson-Gnocchi

Frederic H. Martini, Robert B. Tallitsch, Judi L. Nath
Anatomia Umana
Ed. EdiSES Università

John A. Kiernan & Nagalingam Rajakumar
Barr: Il Sistema Nervoso dell’Uomo. Basi di Neuroanatomia
Ed. EdiSES Università

Estomih Mtui, Gregory Gruener, Peter Dockery
FitzGerald – Neuroanatomia con riferimenti funzionali e clinici
Ed. Edra
Assessment methods
Examination: the student can perform the examination orally by discussing the topics proposed by the teacher. The knowledge of the
topics of the course, the ability to link different topics, the expressive
capacity, the use of suitable terminology, the consequentiality in the
content connection, the ability to synthesize are evaluated. The grade is
expressed in thirtieths, based on the answers given by the student on the
different topics proposed during the exam. In alternative, the
examination may be performed through two written tests in itinere. In
this case, the final grade is the mean of the individual grades awarded in
the two tests.
Further information
Knowledge and comprehension:
Acquisition of critical tools and familiarity with issues related to general
organization of the nervous system, topographic neuroanatomy and
neuronal systems.
Application skills:
Self-directed and guided activities for the systematization of knowledge
by recognizing the different nervous structures through the use of atlases
and schematic illustrations of sections of the central nervous system.
Autonomy of judgment:
Autonomous and guided recognition of regions and nuclei in sections of
human brain.
Communication skills:
Acquisition of the ability to describe in essential, complete and
appropriate lexicon the organization of the subdivisions of the central and
peripheral nervous system and the immediate relationships between the
functional activity of the nerve components and the peripheral
innervation territories. Use of specific language (nomenclature and
terminology) of neuroanatomy. Demonstration of understanding the
knowledge learned through oral communication.
Learning skills:
Essential theoretical knowledge of the structure of neurons and glia, and
of the organization of the different neuronal systems acquired by
advanced neuroanatomy books.
Sustainable development goals - Agenda 2030