Digestive Physiology and Metabolism VETSCI1006

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Veterinary Medicine
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 1 (SCQF level 7)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This course covers nerves and muscles involved in the digestive system before considering how food is processed within the body to provide energy. How the digestive processes are regulated within a variety of domestic and laboratory species.



Requirements of Entry

Please refer to the current prospectus at: http://www.gla.ac.uk/undergraduate/

Excluded Courses



Coursework Assessments

Four coursework assessment which may include data interpretation, online moodle quiz or short answer questions (5% each).


Two written examinations in December (20%) and April/May diets (60%), components of which may include data interpretation questions and short answers.

Main Assessment In: December and April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 


Reassessment of exam 1 (20%) plus 2 of the SDLAs is not permitted.

Course Aims

The aim of the course is to:

■ Provide an overview of the underlying science of gastrointestinal physiology and metabolism in animals

covering important metabolic pathways, digestive physiology and endocrine control of anabolism and catabolism.

■ To provide an understanding of the nervous and endocrine systems with particular emphasis on the autonomic nervous system and its pharmacology with relevance to the control of the digestive tract.

■ To provide an understanding of the underlying science of gastrointestinal physiology and metabolism in animals, covering important metabolic pathways and their biochemical basis, digestive physiology and endocrine control of anabolism and catabolism.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

- Explain why mammalian cells are so sensitive to changes in temperature, pH, dissolved gases and concentrations of energy substrates and metabolites

- Name and define the major substrates, intermediates and products of glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, the pentose phosphate pathway and the Krebs cycle.

- Describe the effects of aerobic and anaerobic exercise on integrated metabolism

■ Describe how ATP is synthesised from carbohydrate, with reference to the metabolic pathways involved, how the rate of flux through the pathways is regulated and factors/disorders that can perturb these metabolic pathways.

■ Describe the catabolism and synthesis of amino acids and fatty acids

■ Explain how the endocrine and nervous systems are used to communicate within the body and the role of reflex pathways

■ Describe the neurophysiology of excitable cells and tissues with particular emphasis on gastrointestinal tract.

■ Describe the autonomic nervous system and its role in homeostasis and its importance as a pharmacological target for altering the internal environment

■ Describe how metabolism in an animal is integrated between tissues: liver, muscle, brain, adipose tissue and the circulation

■ Explain the difference between metabolism in omnivores, ruminants and carnivore

- Describe how food is eaten, digested, absorbed and excreted and how different diets affect these processes and appetite

- Describe how fibre-based diets have required development of fermentative digestion along with specialised gut function and behavioural modifications

- Explain the normal variation in blood glucose in monogastric animals as a result of feeding

- Discuss endocrine pancreatic, adrenal and pituitary structure and roles in normal and abnormal glucose balance 

- Interpret tabular and graphical data given in data interpretation question format

- Demonstrate practical laboratory skills using microscopes and dissection equipment

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course summative assessment.