This unit examines in detail the mechanisms of nerve and muscle function, including behaviour of excitable cells; mechanisms of muscle contraction; muscle fibre types; metabolic processes in active muscle; neuromuscular fatigue; and muscle plasticity. Students are also introduced to current research techniques in nerve and muscle physiology.

Unit details

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Unit code:


RBM2800 - Cardiorespiratory and Renal Physiology

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Critically reflect on the experimental evidence describing ionic movement, the action potential and its synaptic transmission at the neuromuscular junction;  
  2. Discriminate between the structural and functional properties of skeletal, cardiac and smooth muscles;  
  3. Interrogate the regulation of intracellular calcium and its effects on muscle fatigue and damage processes;  
  4. Investigate muscle fibre types, metabolism and fatigue and analyse the immense plasticity of skeletal muscle; and  
  5. Experiment according to ethical protocols on both animal tissue and human subjects to illustrate basic properties of nerve/muscle function.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Laboratory Work Laboratory reports (3) reports - (1800 words in total) 30%
Other Workshop questions (600 words in total) 25%
Exercise Justified response to Physiological reasoning questions (open book, 2.5 hours) 45%

Where to next?

As part of a course

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