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Mechanisms of disease 1



The module Mechanisms of Disease 1 elaborates on the first year modules of Medicine in which the normal anatomy, physiology and homeostasis were taught. Disease results from a disturbance in the structural integrity and/or normal function of (part of) the body and/or the response to this disturbance. The second year starts with the modules Mechanisms of Disease 1 and 2, focussing on the 7 different mechanisms of disease: growth disorders, metabolic and degenerative disorders, congenital abnormalities, hemodynamic disorders, acute and chronic inflammation, disordered immunity and cell/tissue injury and repair.

In module G2MD1 the focus is mainly on inflammation, cell/tissue injury and repair and disordered immunity.

Themes of G2MD1

I. Normal host response to pathological stimuli
I.A Brief overview of the defense mechanisms
I.B Histology of injury and response
I.C Components of the normal immune response
I.D Micro-organisms as cause of disease

II. Infectious Diseases
II.A Host-pathogen interactions
II.B Clinical aspects of infectious diseases: clinical presentations and diagnostics
II.C Clinical aspects of infectious diseases: therapy

III. Allergy
III.A Over-responsiveness of the immune system to non-self: allergy
III.B Clinical aspects of allergy: clinical presentations and diagnostics
III.C Clinical aspects of allergy: therapy

IV. Auto-immunity
IV.A Over-responsiveness of the immune system to self: auto-immunity
IV.B Clinical aspects of auto-immunity: clinical presentations and diagnostics
IV.C Clinical aspects of auto-immunity: therapy

V. Prevention and control
V.A Epidemiology of infectious diseases
V.B Prevention and control of infectious diseases

VI. Transplantation-associated pathology

Course objectives

  • normal host defense mechanisms and response to injury

  • histology of inflammation and repair, consequences for tissue/organ function

  • classification, structure and physiology of micro-organisms

  • pathogenesis of diseases resulting from interaction between the immune system and pathological stimuli (micro-organisms, antigens)

  • failing defense mechanisms or overresponsiveness of the immune system (type I-IV allergies and auto-immune diseases)

  • immunological principles of transplantation, pathogenesis of clinical problems associated with transplantation

  • principles underlying interpretation of diagnostic test results

  • for selected infections and immune disorders: clinical presentations, pathogenesis, diagnostic and therapeutic options

  • pharmacotherapy: mechanism of action of immunosuppressive, immune enhancing and antimicrobial drugs

  • principles of prevention and control of infectious diseases

Mode of instruction

In each theme, lectures will provide an overview of the subjects. Self-study is an important teaching method in this module, based on the study books, e-learning lessons and self-study assignments. In 4 interactive seminars the students’ knowledge of a theme is actively trained. In 5 work groups the students will work together on specific assignments. Two microscopy practicals (bacteriological and parasitological diagnostics) provide a case- based practice of interpretation of microbiological microscopy.

39 Lectures, 4 seminars, 6 patient demonstrations, e-learning modules (4 diagnostics modules, 8 infection prevention modules, TRC pharmacology database), 2 practicals, 5 work groups

Assessment method

  • weekly formative tests

  • summative tests consist of 3 concise component exams in the course of the module (during work groups or practicals: open questions) and 1 final examination (extended matching, multiple choice and integrated puzzle)


  • P. Parham. The immune system, 3rd edition, 2009

  • Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease, 8th edition, 2009.

  • Ryan and Ray. Sherris Medical Microbiology. 5th edition, 2010

  • Skolnic; Global Health 101, 2nd edition 2012 (ISBN-13: 9780763797515)


Secretariat of the Department of Pathology