Universitat Internacional de Catalunya

Structure and Function of the Nervous System, the Endocrine and the Feeling Organs

Structure and Function of the Nervous System, the Endocrine and the Feeling Organs
First semester
Basic training
Morphology, structure and function of human body
Main language of instruction: Spanish

Other languages of instruction: Catalan

Teaching staff

Head person:

Oriol Casasayas Cos - casasayascos@uic.es



Contact by e-mail.


Sr. Sergi Rodriguez



Dra. Sara Ortiz



Sra. Nuria Sanchez



The course Structure and Function of the Nervous System, Endocrine System and Sense Organs provides an understanding of how bodily activities are regulated by nerve impulses, contributing to the maintenance of bodily homeostasis. The description of the sensory and motor pathways will enable us to understand how impulses are transmitted to the medulla and the brain, and from there to the muscles and glands. We will also study the part of the nervous system that operates without voluntary control, the autonomic nervous system, and conclude with the protective systems. Of special interest to us is vascularisation in order to introduce us to cerebral vascular pathologies and their rehabilitation.


* In the event that the health authorities decree a new period of confinement due to the evolution of the health crisis caused by Covid-19, the teaching staff will communicate in due course the possible effects on the methodologies and training activities, as well as on the evaluation systems.


Pre-course requirements

Not specified.


1. To know the structure, organisation and functions of the nervous system. To know the electrical signals of neurons and how they are transmitted at synapses.
2. Identify and describe the macroscopic and microscopic morphology of the spinal cord, brainstem, diencephalon and cerebrum, as well as their respective functions.
3. Describe the structure of the cerebellum and its connections, as well as the cerebellar control of motor functions.
4. Know the electrical signals of neurons and their transmission at the synapse.
5. Describe the nervous circuits and know the neurotransmitters. Study the phenomena of regeneration and repair of nervous tissue.
6. Understand the ventricular system and the cerebrospinal fluid. Identify the meninges and the spaces they delimit. Describe the vascularisation of the nervous system.
7. Know the composition and function of the autonomic and neuroendocrine nervous system.
8. Solve clinical problems based on deductions made from basic knowledge of anatomy and physiology of the nervous system applied to the senses.
9. Identify in imaging techniques the elements belonging to the nervous system.

Competences/Learning outcomes of the degree programme

Understand and recognise the normal structure and function of the human body at molecular, cellular, tissue, organ and systems levels at different stages of life. Correctly interpret the results of laboratory tests, together with clinical information. Obtain the necessary information to plan a research project in the field of health.
Be aware that physiotherapy is an experimental science and that it is the progress of research which, when applied ethically, enables professional practice to be improved. Develop teamwork skills and work with colleagues from the same and other health professions. Personally manage learning and improvement needs through the resources considered most appropriate.


  • 01 - The ability to analysis and synthesis.
  • 06 - To have comprehensive problem-solving skills.
  • 07 - Demonstrate decision-making skills.
  • 09 - Demonstrate critical thinking skills.
  • 10 - Develop autonomous learning skills.
  • 20 - Knowledge of human anatomy and physiology, emphasising the dynamic interrelationship between structure and function, in particular of the musculoskeletal, the nervous and the cardiorespiratory systems.
  • 21 - Knowledge of the physiological and structural changes that can occur after physiotherapeutic interventions.
  • 22 - Knowledge of factors that affect human growth and development throughout the lifespan.
  • 28.1 - Capacity for oral and written communication in the native language.
  • 40 - Knowledge about, physiological, functional and behavioral changes that occur after physiotherapeutic intervention.

Learning outcomes of the subject

  • During the course, the student will acquire basic knowledge of the central, peripheral, autonomic and endocrine nervous system; its macro and microscopic structure. Describe the main covering membranes, arterial and venous vascularisation, composition and circulation of the cerebrospinal fluid, as well as the division and distribution of the normal encephalic and medullary parenchyma.
  • Familiarity with accepted international nomenclature, as well as the ability to deal with both real and simulated cases.
  • Know and identify the physiological modifications that these systems undergo during the development and life of each individual, as well as the clinical exploration and the different neuroimaging techniques, basic for the physiological and pathological study of the human being.


1.1. CONTROL SYSTEMS. Introduction to the structure and function of the nervous and endocrine systems.
1.2. NERVOUS SYSTEM. Structural and functional organisation. Cell type - cells. Regeneration of the nervous system.

2.1. NEUROPHYSIOLOGY. Electrical signals of neurons. Neuronal communication, membrane potentials of nerve cells. Nerve impulse conduction. Resting potential. Action potential. Phases Refractory periods Threshold potential.
2.2. SYNAPSIS Type of synapses. Dendrite-soma-axon information flow. Excitatory, inhibitory and modulatory synapses. Synaptic plasticity. Neuromuscular synapses. Excitatory and inhibitory potentials. Genesis and propagation of action potentials in axons.
2.3. NEUROTRANSMITTERS Definition and classification. Types of neurotransmitters, receptors and intracellular signalling in the central and peripheral nervous system.
3.1. GENERAL SENSITIVITY. Sensory modality and sensation processing. Transduction. Sensory receptors: Type. Adaptation of receptors Receptor potential. Receptive fields. Somatic and visceral sensations. Painful tactile and proprioceptive sensations.
4.1. MOTOR CIRCUITS. Circuits of the cerebral cortex, brainstem, basal ganglia and cerebellum. Spinal reflex circuits. Neural control of muscle tone, posture, balance and ambulation.
subject 5. autonomic or visceral nervous system
5.1. AUTONOMIC SYSTEM. Visceral sensitivity. Visceral motor responses. Sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. Enteric nervous system. Vegetative functions. Visceral reflexes. Visceral pain.
6.1. VISION. Physiology of vision. Visual pathways.
6.2. HEARING. Anatomical recollection. Physiology of hearing. Auditory pathways.
6.3. SENSES OF SMELL AND TASTE. Anatomical recollection. Physiology. Olfactory and gustatory pathways.
7.1. CRANIAL NERVES. Modalities and function. Summary of cranial nerves
physiology of the endocrine system
8.1. GENERAL. Types of glands. Hormones.
8.2. HYPOTHALAMO-PITUITARY AXIS. Adenohypophysis and neurohypophysis.
8.3. GLANDS. Thyroid gland. Adrenal glands.
8.4. ENDOCRINE PANCREAS. Hormones, functions and metabolic regulations.
1.1. DEVELOPMENT. Development of the nervous system.
1.2. NEUROANATOMY. Regional neuroanatomy of the central nervous system. Grey and white matter. Main divisions of the nervous system.
1.3. CEREBELLUM. External morphology. Internal morphology. Functional anatomy of the cerebellum.
1.4. DIENCEPHALON. Components. Thalamus: External morphology. Internal organisation. Functional organisation of the nuclei of the thalamus.
1.5. TELENCEPHALON. Cerebral hemispheres and cerebral cortex. Cerebral cortex gyri or convolutions, sulci and lobes of the cortex. histological structure and functional organisation. White matter of the cerebral hemispheres. Type of fibres.
1.6. NUCLEI OF THE BASE. Topographical and functional anatomy of the basal nuclei.
1.7. LIMBIC SYSTEM. Anatomy and function of the olfactory bulb and hypothalamus.
protective and irrigation structures the encephalon.
2.1. PROTECTIVE STRUCTURES. Encephalon and spinal cord coverings. Skull: anterior, middle and posterior cranial fossa. Cranial meninges. Dura mater, arachnoid and pia mater.
2.2. VENTRICULAR SYSTEM. Topographical anatomy of the ventricular system. Formation and circulation of cerebrospinal fluid .
2.3. IRRIGATION OF THE BRAIN. Arterial and venous vascularisation of the brain and spinal cord .
3.1. SPINAL CORD. External morphology of the spinal - cord: segmental organisation. Spinal nerves. Spinal meninges. Grey substance. Spinal cord. White substance Spinal tracts.
3.2. BRAINSTEM. External morphology of the brainstem. Dorsal side. Ventral side. Internal structure of the brainstem.
1. Anatomy and physiology of the auditory pathway.
2. Anatomy and physiology of the gustatory pathway.
3. Anatomy and physiology of the visual pathway.
4. Histology of the nervous system.
5. Dissection of the protective structures: skull and meninges.
6. Dissection of the brain, brainstem and medulla - the.
7. Dissection of basal ganglia, thalamus and hypothalamus.
8. Dissection of motor and sensory pathways.
9. Motor pathway lesions. Dissection of the polygon of Willis.
10. Dissection of the cranial nerves.

11. Encephalogram practice.

12. Reflex practice.
13. Test

Teaching and learning activities

In person

Whenever safety regulations allow, different teaching methodologies will be used:
Lectures (CM), laboratory practicals, group tutorials (TR).
Methodology in the theoretical-practical classes of histology: An initial part will correspond to the commentary on the topic of the day with explanations by the teacher and active participation with questions and doubts from the students. The second part will correspond to the MACROSCOPI and microscopic examination of several histological preparations, in order to carry out a work of observation of the same with its corresponding commentary by the student.

Evaluation systems and criteria

In person

1st, 3rd and 5th exam consists of: 20% partial exam, 25% practical exam, 40% final exam and 15% continuous assessment.
Partial exam
- Date: 18th October.
- Type of test: 25 multiple-choice questions and 2 essay questions (including images, diagrams, dissections and images of diagnostic tests).
- This test will include all the material worked on up to the day before (in lectures and laboratory practicals), as well as the contents included in the recommended bibliography.
Practical test
- Date: 22 January.
- Type of test: 10-14 questions related to the practical contents.
- Incorrect questions will not be deducted.
- The person who does not pass this exam does not pass the subject.
Final exam
- Date: January 22st.
- Type of test: 40 multiple-choice questions and 4 essay questions.
- It covers all the material explained in the classes (theoretical and practical), as well as the contents included in the recommended bibliography.
- It is essential to pass this exam in order to pass the course.
Continuous assessment: questions, assignments and tests carried out during the classes (either oral or written).
- The final exam and the practical exam must be passed in order to pass the subject with a mark equal to or higher than 5.
- An average mark of 5 or more is required to pass the course.
- The person who has passed the practical exam and the final exam, but the average is not higher than 5, will have to sit for the recovery of the multiple-choice exam and get a better result in this exam so that the average is equal to or higher than 5.

2nd, 4th and 6th exam consists of: 25% practical test, 55% final exam and 20% continuous assessment.
- The final exam and the practical test have the same characteristics as the previous exams.
- The mark for the continuous assessment is the mark obtained during the previous exam session.

Bibliography and resources

Tortora - Derrickson. Principios de Anatomía y fisiología (11ª edición). Editorial Panamericana. 2006

Principles of Neural Science. Eric R. Kandel, Edited, James H. Schwartz, Edited, Thomas M. Jessell, Edited, Steven A. Siegelbaum, Edited, A. J. Hudspeth, Edited, Sarah Mack, Art Editor. Editorial Elsevier

Schünke. Prometheus. Texto y Atlas de Anatomía. Tomo 3. Cabeza y neuroanatomía. Ed. Panamericana. 

Alan Stevens y James Lowe. HISTOLOGÍA HUMANA (3ª edición). Ed. Elsevier. 2006.

A.L. Kierszenbaum. Histología y Biología celular (2ª edición). Ed. Elsevier. 2008.

Crossman AR; Neary D. Neuroanatomia ( 3ª edición) Elsevier Masson (2007)

Turlough Fitgerald MJ, Gruener G, Mtui E. Neuroanatomia Clinica y Neurociencia(6ª Edición) Elsevier Saunders (2012)


Evaluation period

E: exam date | R: revision date | 1: first session | 2: second session:
  • E1 22/01/2024 A14 10:00h
  • E1 22/01/2024 A16 10:00h
  • E1 22/01/2024 12:00h
  • E2 19/06/2024 A16 10:00h