The course of Human Biochemistry provides the basic concepts on the structure and function of proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids, and illustrates the main pathways for the maintenance of tissue homeostasis with particular attention to the energy metabolism in human skeletal muscle.
Basic knowledge of General Chemistry and Biology
BASIC BIOCHEMISTRY. The chemistry of living organisms. Chemical bonds and molecular interactions. Chemical reactions: properties, classification and kinetics. The water molecule and its properties. Solutions: acidic-base properties and pH. Physiological buffering systems. Organic chemistry: structure of functional groups and their reactivity.
PROTEIN STRUCTURE. Amino acids: structure, classification, acid-base equilibrium and optical properties. Peptide bond and structural organization of proteins. Fibrous proteins: collagen. Globular proteins. Oxygen binding proteins: hemoglobin and mioglobin. Heme structure. Oxygen saturation curves. Regulatory mechanisms of hemoglobin functions: role of diphosphoglycerate, pH, and CO2. Contractile proteins: actin, myosin, tropomiosin and troponine.
ENZYMES. Enzymatic reactions: mechanisms and catalysis affecting factors. Cofactors and coenzymes. Regulation of the enzymatic activity: inhibitors, and inactivators. Allosteric enzymes. Isoenzymes: properties and physiological roles.
GLUCIDES. Sugars: structure, classification, acid-base, optical properties and physiological roles. Monosaccharides: glucose, fructose, ribose and galactose. Disaccharides: maltose, cellobiose and saccharose. Polysaccharides: cellulose, amido and glycogen.
LIPIDES. Structure, classification, and physiological roles. Fatty acids. Storage lipids: triglycerides. Membrane lipids: phospholipids and cholesterol.
BIOENERGETICS AND METABOLISM. Basic bioenergetics. Exoergonic and endoergonic reactions: coupled reactions. High energetic compounds: ATP and other phosphorous-containing compuonds. Energetic fluxes in living organisms: ATP-ADP cycle. General concepts of metabolism: anabolic, catabolic and amphibolic processes.
CARBOHYDRATE METABOLISM. Outline of digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. Catabolism of glucose in the glycolytic pathway: phases, energy balance and regulation. Anaerobic destiny of pyruvate: homolactic and alcoholic fermentation. Aerobic destiny of pyruvate: oxidative decarboxylation. Pentose-phosphate pathway.
Biosynthesis of glucose: gluconeogenesis and glucogenesis. Glycogen: degradation, synthesis and metabolic regulation.
LIPID METABOLISM. Outline of digestion and absorption of lipids. Fatty acid catabolism: role of carnitine in mitochondrial transport of fatty acids. Beta-oxidation of fatty acids. Energy balance. Ketone bodies and cholesterol.
Biosynthesis of fatty acids: formation of malonyl-CoA, fatty acid synthase multienzyme system, elongation of the fatty acids carbon chain.
OXIDATIVE METABOLISM. Krebs cycle: reactions of the cycle, energy balance and regulation. Oxidative phosphorylation: the chain of electron transport and ATP synthesis.
Energy balance of the catabolism of glycides, lipids and proteins. Regulation of metabolism. Role of hormones: adrenaline, glucagon and insulin.
PROTEIN METABOLISM. Outline of digestion and absorption of proteins. Amino acid catabolism (oxidative deamination, transamination). Urea cycle. Creatine and creatinina metabolism.
SKELETAL MUSCLE METABOLISM. Organization of skeletal muscle tissue. Biochemistry of muscle contraction. Classification of the muscle fibers. Energy substrates and metabolic pathways (anaerobic-alactacid, anaerobic-lactic, aerobic). Cori cycle.
NELSON D.L., COX M.M., “Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry”, Macmillan Education Eds.
MOUGIOS V., "Exercise Biochemistry" Human Kinetics Eds.
MORAN L.A., HORTON R.A., SCRIMGEOUR G., PERRY M.D., “Principles of Biochemistry, 5/E”,Pearson Education Eds
Interim verification tests consisting of multiple-choice and open-ended questions, on topics faced up to the time of the test.
The final exam consists of a written test including multiple-choice and open-ended questions on all the contents of the course. Admission to the oral examination is subject to passing the written test.
The assessment of written tests will take into account differential scores between multiple-choice and open-ended questions. The oral examination consists in verifying the structural and functional knowledge of biomolecules, metabolic pathways and their regulation.