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Compulsory/Elective Code Semester Lectures Practicals Credits ECTS
Elective  13A503 5th 3 Hrs/Wk 3 Hrs/Wk 4 5.5

Course general description: The study of the structure and physiological functions of the mammalian immune system, with emphasis on the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in innate immunity, as well as in adaptive or acquired immunity. Emphasis is also given on the mechanisms responsible for dysfunctions of the immune system. In the context of laboratory practicals the students come for the first time in contact with both classic and advanced immunological techniques. The combination of theoretical instruction and training in basic immunological techniques, at the end of the course, a student acquires the appropriate basic knowledge on the functions of the immune system.

Specific aims are: a) To provide a course on structure and functions of cells and organs of the immune system, b) To investigate the mechanisms underlying the induction of immunological responses by both innate and acquired immunity for understanding the interaction modes and the cellular / molecular mechanisms involved, c) To outline the immune system dysfunctions, their consequences for the organism and therapeutic strategies to confront them, d) To develop skills through familiarization and training in in vitro basic immunological techniques, evaluation and critical analysis of obtained results, e) To prepare students to combine the acquired knowledge for the diagnosis and treatment of immunological dysfunctions, f) To show how the appropriate and contemporary international literature can be used to better approach the new achievements in the field of Immunology.


At the end of the course students should: a) Acquire enhanced knowledge on the structure and function of organs and cellular components, and recognize the value of the importance of the immune system to the conservation and development of living organisms, b) Be able to develop cogent and critical arguments based on basic principles of the immune system, the two types of immunity of animal organisms and understand their differences, c) Identify types of antigens or ways of identifying the foreign / potentially harmful agent and the interactions of the immune system cells with them, d) Know the mechanisms of immune response and immune tolerance, and the specialization of acquired immunity, e) Be aware of ways to enhance the immunity of an organism, eg by vaccination, and to distinguish between passive and active immunity, f) Identify the different types of diseases associated with improper functioning of the immune system and know basic ways of treatment, g) Be aware of the tools and techniques of immunology in the field of research as well as the mechanisms of action of modern therapeutic tools so that it can enrich this knowledge at postgraduate level, h) Be able to combine the knowledge gained at the level of a basic immunology exercises (eg flow cytometry, histocompatibility) for the diagnosis and treatment of occupational immunological dysfunctions, i) To collaborate with other students in the implementation of laboratory exercises that serve the above learning objectives, to record, analyze, evaluate and present the results, j) Have developed the skills needed to be able to perform, analyze and report on experiments and observations with a high degree of autonomy, k) Be able to integrate related topics from separate parts of the course so that could work in the future with other scientists of other specialties such as doctors, pharmacists, chemists, veterinarians and others.


Introduction - Overview of the immune system - Innate immunity, Adaptive immunity-Cells and organs of the system (2 Hours) – Innate Immunity (2 Hours) – Antigens (1 Hour) – Antibodies: Structure and function, hybridomas and monoclonal antibodies, Immunoglobulin genes (4 Hours) – Antigen-antibody interactions: Principles and Applications (1 Hour) – Major Histocompatibility Complex (1 Hour) – Antigen processing and presentation (2 Hours) – T-cell receptor (2 Hours) – T-cell maturation, activation and differentiation (2 Hours) – B-cell generation, activation and differentiation (3 Hours) -  Cytokines (1 Hour) – The complement system (2 Hours) – Cell-mediated effector responses (2 Hours) – Leukocyte migration and inflammation (2 Hours) – Hypersensitive responses (2 Hours) – Immune response to infectious diseases-Vaccines (1 Hour) – AIDS and other immunodeficiences (3 Hours) – Autoimmunity (2 Hours) – Transplantation Immunology (1 Hour) – Cancer and the immune system (2 Hours) – Experimental systems (1 Hour)


1. Lymphoid organs and cells of the mammalian immune system. 2. Purification and characterization of immunoglobulins. 3. Isolation and identification of immune cells. 4. Immunoprecipitation-Western blot analysis. 5. Immunodiffusion-Immunofixation- Immunoelectrophoresis. 6. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). 7. In vitro cytotoxicity assay. 8. Hemagglutination-Hemaplaque assay. 9. Flow cytometry. 10. Mixed lymphocyte reaction.

  Lectures: C. Gaitanaki, Professor of Animal Physiology (Coordinator) - O. Tsitsilonis, Associate Professor of Immunology - P. Papazafiri, Associate Professor of Animal Physiology - I.-K. Aggeli, Assistant Professor of Animal Physiology.
  Practicals: C. Gaitanaki, Professor of Animal Physiology - O. Tsitsilonis, Associate Professor of Immunology - P.Papazafiri, Associate Professor of Animal Physiology - I.-K. Aggeli, Assistant Professor of Animal Physiology - Dr. A. Marmari, Laboratory Teaching Staff, Dr.  A. Fotinopoulou, Laboratory Teaching Staff, Dr. S. Papavasiliou Laboratory Teaching Staff

The evaluation process takes place in Greek (for Erasmus students, there is the possibility of examining in English). The evaluation process consists of an examination conducted either on the whole material of the course or in two parts and includes: I. Written examination of the laboratory with: a) Questions for assessing students' critical thinking regarding the methodologies and the experimental procedures implemented, b) Questions for assessing their skills in the analysis and synthesis of obtained data and information, c) Exercises for assessing their capability in inductive thinking and applying the knowledge acquired to solve research problems. II. Written examination of the course with questions of graded difficulty including: a) Multi-choice or matching questions b) Short theoretical questions in order to evaluate the student’s understanding of basic terms and mechanistic principles taught, c) Problems and / or exercises based on the theoretical knowledge acquired in the courses. Students are also expected to hand in mandatory laboratory reports so as to prove their skills of processing and presenting experimental data.

From the beginning of the semester, the students are informed by the coordinator of the course that the laboratory exercises participate by 20% and the theory by 80% at the final grade of the course. The mark of the laboratory practicals, comes from an examination conducted separately. Passing marks in both examinations are required.


If you require more information, please contact the Course Coordinator, Prof. C. Gaitanaki at: Tel +30 210 727 4136; e-mail: cgaitan[at]biol.uoa[dot]gr