In this curricular unit, students should gain an integrated knowledge about the different mechanisms of functioning of the human body. They must understand that the regulation mechanisms of the various body functions aim the maintenance of homeostasis of important physiological variables, such as body temperature, blood pressure, water and inorganic ion concentration, pH, and blood glucose. Students should also acquire basic notions about the different types of cells and how they are organized into tissues, organs, and systems with defined functions that are subject to superior control by the nervous and endocrine systems. Examples of pathologies associated with some of the systems will be discussed. In this context, students will analise "clinical cases" to relate the pathologies with the symptoms and the results of medical exams.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Helena Luísa de Araújo Vieira, Maria Teresa Nunes Mangas Catarino


Weekly - 4

Total - 56

Teaching language





Vander''''''''s HUMAN PHYSIOLOGY: The Mechanisms of Body Function

15th Edition (2019)

Widmaier, Raff, Strang

 Mc Graw Hill

scientific papers supplied by teachers

Teaching method

This curricular unit is organized in theoretical classes and TP classes (workshops). In theoretical classes, the lecturer will present the syllabus, using powerpoint slides. TP classes will be of two types: i) problem solving classes, ii) clinical case classes. In these classes, students will work in groups with Internet access. The professor supports the groups in solving problems and clinical cases, guiding research, clarifying doubts, or even solving problems on the board. At the end of some TP classes there will be Quizzes for evaluation.

The objective of the TP classes is to make students more autonomous in the search and selection of information and to encourage the understanding and integration of the subjects covered in the theoretical classes, contributing to the consolidation of knowledge.

Evaluation method

1. This year there will be a frequency assessment. Frequency corresponds to the presence in 2/3 of the TPs and delivery of the practical assignment. 

2. Evaluation will have two components:

Final grade = 80% Theoretical grade + 20% TP grade

 2.1. Theoretical Grade (80%)

Theoretical assessment can be done through tests or a final exam.

a) Four written examination papers. There is no minimum score on each paper, but the final average must be ≥ 9.5

b) Final exam covering the full contents of the CU in which the student must obtain a minimum grade of 9.5 values.


2.2. TP grade (20%)

The TP assessment consists of delivery of a group assay and participation in TP.

a) Group assay 

Group work on a topic of choice within the Nervous System or Endocrine System chapters.

b) Participation in TP 

Participation in TPs and Quizzes


1. For students who have a practical grade from previous years, this grade counts in the 20% TP grade component.

2. The grades of the various components are given to 2 decimal places, rounding is only done in the final grade.

3. In situations where there is suspicion of fraud in the evaluation or other special situations, the teachers reserve the right to carry out an oral examination.

Subject matter

1.Homeostasis: a framework for human physiology.

2.Neuronal signaling and the structure of the nervous system. Neural tissue, membrane potentials and synapses.

3.The endocrine system. Principles of hormonal control systems. Hypothalamus and pituitary gland. Thyroid gland.

4.Muscle. Skeletal muscle, smooth muscle and cardiac muscle.

5.Cardiovascular physiology. Heart and vascular system. Regulation of systemic arterial pressure.

6.Respiratory physiology.

7.The kidneys and regulation of water and inorganic ions.

8.The digestion and absorption of food.

9.Regulation of organic metabolism.


Programs where the course is taught: