History of the Department of Human and Animal Physiology

Department of Human and Animal Physiology of Imperial Novorossiya University was founded in 1872 with the encouragement of Ivan Mikhaylovich Sechenov, Russian physiologist. Working in Odesa less than 6 years, Sechenov had time to conduct extremely valuable researches. Thus, he identified here the role of haemoglobin and blood plasma for carbon dioxide sequestration and transportation. Studying the nerve function, Sechenov determined that during the frequent nerve stimulation the neuroexcitation characters have been vanished. Based on this observation he concluded that neuroexcitation processes change neural inhibition processes not only in the central nervous system, but also in the peripheral nervous system. The joint work of Ivan Sechenov and Ilya Mechnikov about the mechanism of action of the vagus nerve on the heart had a great interest to physiology. They determined that inhibitory effect on the heart has occurred after the prolonged stimulation of the vagus nerve of the turtle: it then increases, then weakens. 

Disciples of Sechenov, Petr Spiro and latter Bronislav Verigo, held the Department of Physiology after his leaving Odesa. They provided Sechenov’s direction in the study of physiology. Under Sechenov supervision Spiro studied the innervation of the respiratory tract and proved the presence of the nerve centres both in the medulla oblongata and pons Varolii that also involved in the breath regulation. Spiro discovered the phenomenon of reciprocal innervation. Also, he described the phenomenon called “reflectory traces” and determined the phenomena of the mixing of stimuli in the nerve centres. He wrote number of works that described the phenomenon of hypnosis. After that, he decided that hypnosis is not a mysterious phenomenon and it should not be out of the study.

Verigo B. held the laboratory of physiology in 1894 when Spiro P. had passed away (1893). He researched the physiology of the nervous system and proved that specific relationships between excitation and conduction processes in nerve were present. He interpreted the neuroexcitation as a jump process. During the study of the mechanism of cathodic depression, Verigo determined that during the excitation along the nerve the redistribution of ions was implemented. He conducted extensive immunobiology research as well.

Vladimir Zavyalov, that previously worked as a teacher, was elected as a head of Laboratory of Physiology at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics when Verigo had started to work in the Department of Physiology at the Medical Faculty founded in 1901. The science lab work was activated when the disciples of Vvedenskiy – Beritov J. S. (Beritashvili) and Vorontsov D. S. – had come to Physiology Laboratory in 1915‑1916. Beritov established the law of coupled irradiation of excitation in the central nervous system after four years of work in Odesa. He also explored the reciprocal innervation of skeletal muscle. Vorontsov studied electrocardiograms of frog heart. Several of his works were devoted to the nerve physiology; they studied the conduction of excitation along the nerves.
Department of Animal Physiology was established on the basis of the Physiology Laboratory of the Department of Zoology after the Great October Socialist Revolution in early 1920s. First, the Pavlov’s disciple Babkin B. P. held the Department of Animal Physiology and at the same time he held the Department of Physiology at Medical University. Babkin left Odesa in 1922 and in the same year the Department of Physiology was held by Pavlov’s colleague Sinelnikov E. I. His scientific investigations provided in various chapters of physiology: physiology of the central nervous system and the autonomic nervous system, thermoregulation, physiology of the digestion and lymph formations etc. Sinelnikov has developed a special method of warming and cooling blood flowing to the brain and, together with his collaborators, proved that the changing of blood temperature activated thermoregulatory centres. Formation of conception of conditioned reflex regulation of body temperature is a merit of the Department scientists, which was confirmed by many physiologists and clinicians. Several Sinelnikov’s works together with his colleagues were focused on the conditioned reflex activity. Kornii Leutskyi determined that the frogs, which were deprived of the cerebral hemispheres, can develop conditioned reflexes to light and time, but the inhibition to the differential stimulus was developed hardly in not only operated, but also in normal frogs. Los M. V. and Shevaliov V. E. found that conditioned reflexes break in the brain with anemisation in cats but rapidly restored after normalization of blood circulation in the central nervous system. Faitelberg R. O. determined that conditional reflex activity in pigeons is disturbed during vitamin B deficiency, developed inhibition process on the food avitaminosis, resulting that birds becoming indifferent to food. Studying the reflex relationship between the internal organs, Sinelnikov and others have found that viscerovisceral reflexes existed between the organs of the abdominal and pelvic cavities, which remained after the destruction of the spinal cord. Problems of physiology of digestion were more developed by Sinelnikov and his collaborators (Semeniuk L. Ya., Volia Z. M., Alokhina G. F., Samoilenko I. S.). It has been shown that the act of chewing influenced the activity of digestive glands and the formation of tooth-jaw apparatus. Excluding the masticatory apparatus impair the absorption of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Secretory and motor activity of the intestine of humans and animals was more studied. It was proved that the duration of contractions hungry and relative rest depends from the digestive mode prior to starvation.

After the death of Sinelnikov in 1951, his disciple Faitelberg R. O. became a head of the department. In 1960-70s, prof. Faitelberg with colleagues were also carried out studies on absorption regularities of various nutrients in the gastrointestinal tract, not only during normal but also various pathological conditions. Into that, these laws were examined in terms of the complex relationships between the stomach and the intestine. Considerable attention was always devoted to the mechanisms of regulation of the processes of absorption, as well as the role of stimuli of different areas of the digestive tract. In the same period, prof. Faitelberg R. O. and associate professor Alekseieva Z. I. first established the dependence of the absorption of glucose and glycine from the content of Na ions in their solutions. Then this position has been confirmed in many laboratories around the world. Assistant professor Siomik L. I. performed the study of absorption of chloride salts of Mn, Zn, Co, Cu in different parts of the intestine. These results formed the basis for her PhD thesis. Later these studies were continued by Senior Researcher Yermakova T. L., who studied micronutrient absorption at their introduction together with amino acids and sugars.

During these years, the work began on the study of mechanisms of the central nervous system influence on the absorption processes and for performing this study the microelectrodes stereotactically introduced into the different structures and areas of CNS (cortex, subcortical structures, cerebellum, spinal cord). These investigations were performed by assistant professor Vengrzhanovskyi P. M., assistant professor Drachuk L. G., PhD Vasylievskyi V. S., Tkachenko G. M., Bashev V. D., Rakhimberdiev A. A., senior assistant Malakhovska V. M. Thus, the effect of a constant electric current of different voltage on different neural structures was investigated as well as its effect on absorption. Whereas the different parts and structures of the brain and spinal cord were stimulated. Apart from these methods of stimulation of neural structures by electric current, the destructions by electrocoagulation of different areas of the cerebral cortex, cerebellum, subcortical structures and transection of the spinal cord at the different levels were conducted. As a result of these multi-year researches it was found the influences of the various nerve structures on the absorption activity of the intestine. It was also determined that the effect of the nervous system on the intestine apparatus implemented with the participation of serotonin that forms in the intestines in the so-called chromaffin cells (prof. Faitelberg R. O., Balan M. M.). In cases where the corresponding structure stimulated absorption processes in the intestinal the serotonin secretion was increased. Therefore, it was referred to the factors of absorption. Peptides were considered for absorption factors as well. In the same period, the role of the autonomic nervous system examined in the conduction impulses to the absorptive intestinal apparatus.

Professor Faitelberg was interested in questions of absorption in the gastrointestinal tract of different medicinal substances in the recent years of his carrier at the Department. Under his supervision, these studies have been initiated in the early 70s and it continues till present. Thus, an assistant professor of biochemistry Karpov L. M. in these years (now – Professor and Head of Department of Human and Animal Physiology) using radioisotope methods carried out series of studies on the absorption of certain vitamins in the small intestine in dogs and rats in conjunction with the staff of the Department of Physiology. Together with the Institute of Biomedical Problems (Moscow) the study of rectilinear of motion sickness on the absorption process in the gastrointestinal tract was performed. Whereas, Gladkiy T. V. defended her PhD thesis on such topic in 1981.

At the department the research work on the effect of different blood substitutes (polyglucin, hemodez etc.) on the animal organism in blood loss was started. The effect of the combustion products of synthetic materials on the organism was studied together with Moscow Fire Service Institute. The high scientific authority of the department was the reason that it has been entrusted to carry out the two Republican Congresses of Physiologists (1961 and 1977), as well as a number of All-Union Symposium on the physiology and pathology of the digestive system. This intensive scientific work of the department, of course, has been seen by the management and the students of the University. The department has become one of the centres of student research: prof. Faitelberg was scientific director of the Student Scientific Society (SSS) many years, and Siomik L. I. – chairman of SSS University. Under the supervision of prof. Faitelberg, 27 PhD and 6 doctoral theses were defended. Even after retirement, he did not interrupt communications with the University and the Department, continuing the consultations and participating in the organization of various congresses and conferences. He passed away on 4th February 1998. He was 96 years old.

From 1978 to 1999 the Department of Physiology was held by professor Taranenko V. D. With its arrival two electrophysiological laboratory and clinic (vivarium) were organized and equipped with modern facilities and, for the first time in Odesa, microelectrode technique neurophysiological studies were introduced. During the 80s and early 90s the focus of research at the Department of Human and Animal Physiology was to study the mechanisms of neurons interaction in the cerebral cortex and the cellular mechanisms underlying paroxysmal activity in the cerebral cortex and other brain structures were actively explored. Mechanisms of action of convulsants and GABA-ergic nature substances on the processes of post-synaptic inhibition have been established (together with prof. Karpov L. M.). The research of neuromorphological cortex after various treatments (together with assistant professor Siomik L. I.) was actively performed. Department became the centre of neurophysiology which was known in the country and abroad in his presence. The doctoral defence of Taranenko V. D. in 1986 with thesis: "Functional properties of neurons and organization neurons interaction in cortex of the brain" was the result of many years of research. Under the supervision of prof. Taranenko, 10 PhD theses were defended (Timofieiev I. V., Turkin V. V., Kiriazova T. KH., Lopantsev V. E., Topolnyk E. V., Berete Namori, Sudha et al.). Students of the department are currently working in well-known universities and clinics in the USA, Canada and Germany. Professor Taranenko was dean of the Biological Faculty from 1987 to the end of 1999. 
Associate Professor Siomik L. I. was the Department Chair in 2000. 
Since 2001, the Department was held by professor Karpov L. M., which continues and develops the research areas and the traditions established by predecessors. Thus, a lot of attention was given to studying of actions of new physiologically active substances, including neurotropic properties, GABA-containing drugs for instance.

During this period, under supervision of department stuff many PhD theses were defended, including:

  • Maikova H. V. – Comparative pharmacological characteristics cinazepam, gidazepam – prodrugs of 1,4-benzdiazepam structure (supervisor prof. Zhuk A. V.).
  • Sorokin A. V. Nicotinic acid interaction with other vitamins in the implementation of its functions under various conditions of the organism (supervisor prof. Karpov L. M.).
  • Budniak A. K. Violation of metabolism and riboflavin coenzyme functions in animals and possibility of their correction (supervisor prof. Karpov L. M.).
  • Anisimov V. Yu. Energy mechanisms of interaction vitamins "B" as a factor in the implementation of their functions (supervisor prof. Karpov L. M.).

Since 1991, more than 10 scientific topics (departmental and funded by the Ministry of Education of Ukraine) on the scientific direction of №15, "Biology, biotechnology, food" were performed together with collaborative work of lecturers, students, PhDs and stuff of the Department. Since 2000, they were supervised by prof. Karpov Among them are the following:

  1. "Mechanisms of implementation of activity of vitamins as an integral system of metabolism regulators", in which there are significant metabolic disorders in animals (white rats) by the action on the body of factors such as hypoxia, radiation, diabetes, etc (2 PhD theses were defended).
  2.  "The study of the mechanisms of biosynthesis of nicotine-amide co-enzymes in animal cells of different origin and functional state". The dependence of the level of co-enzymes in animal organs with age, action hepatotoxic factors, the efficiency of protein synthesis, and power systems were found. Animals consumed the vitamin complex and spirulina products significantly protected the body from the harmful factors.
  3. "Investigation of possibilities to improve the stability of the physiological and biochemical systems of the organism to the action of harmful and extreme factors." Results in the form of recommendations delivered to the customer, 9 articles were published and 14 themes, 1 PhD thesis was defended.
  4. "The role of different types of neuronal activity and the effects of antiepileptic GABA derivatives."

Karpov Leonid Mykhailovych passed away 24th January 2017 at 74 years old.
Makarenko Olha Anatoliivna held the department from 3rd May 2017. Several research projects have planned under her supervision.

  1. "Study of the influence of dysbiosis in disorders of the liver function on the physiological state of the central nervous system". The relevance of this work is related to the steady increase in the number of patients with hepatotoxicity and the availability of data on the pathogenetic dependence of cerebral disorders caused by the liver disorder. Dysbiotic aspect was the basis of hepatocerebral dependence, which considered one of the most important, at the same time, less studied, functions of the hepatotoxic system – antimicrobial. Several present studies showed that the antimicrobial function of the liver promotes the development of generalized dysbiosis (an increase in the number of pathogenic and opportunistic bacteria), the result of which is the increase in the content of toxins of bacterial origin. The influence of these toxins on the central nervous system has not been well-studied. Therefore, it is planned to investigate the pathogenic effect of dysbiosis and hepatotoxic biliary pathology on the state of the central nervous system and develop methods for correction of disorders.
  2. "Development of the concept of healthy foods with the high level of fats". Sunflower oil, dairy butter, pork and beef fats, which are part of the diet of a modern Ukrainian people, that consists mainly of linoleic and palmitic acids, which in larger quantities have a negative effect on human metabolism and is a significant cause of disorders of the functional state of tissues and organs of the digestive system. Therefore, it was planned to investigate the effect of different composition of food fats on the content of fatty acids in the blood, liver, heart, brain and in the fat depot of rats. Also, it was planned to prove expediency of application of fats, oils and dietary impurities with an optimal ratio of ω-6 and ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids for normalization of lipid metabolism, functioning of the pancreas, liver, gastrointestinal tract, and also, the prevention of development of the most common diseases of the present (atherosclerosis, obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus).
  3. "Study of therapeutic and preventive properties of the mollusc shells of the Black Sea". Analysis of the status of Ukrainian population showed the low intake of calcium from the food and the certain difficulties of absorption calcium in the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, it was planned to conduct a study on the chemical composition of shells from the molluscs of the Black Sea (recycling wastes), to develop a technology for crushing mollusc shells and technology for obtaining substance from the shells. There are also plans to perform experimental research in laboratory animals: acute and chronic harmlessness, bioavailability, intensity of absorption in the gastrointestinal tract, therapeutic and preventive properties on models of osteoporosis (alimentary, postmenopausal, glucocorticoid) and dentofacial diseases. Black Sea molluscs such as rapana, mediterranean mussel and oysters (Rapana venosa, Mytilus galloprovincialis, Oyster sell) belong to marine industrial hydrobionts. The meat of these molluscs is a delicacy and different dishes could be cook. Shells of molluscs, the mass of which is about 70% of the mass of mollusc, are utilized as waste. When mastering possible catches of molluscs, thousands of tons of shells are formed that need to be disposed of. It is known that shells are a rich source of calcium and other macro- and microelements that are basic for the formation of teeth and bones in children, for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis in adults, and for accelerating bone fractures after cracks. It is important that shells of molluscs are consist of calcite and aragonite – various forms of crystallization of calcium carbonate involving organic glue – conchiolin. As previously stated, the analysis of the status of the Ukrainian population showed a low calcium intake from food. Therefore, the development of medical products from the mollusc shells is an important area for overcoming the calcium nutritional deficit of the Ukrainian population, as well as optimization of the prevention and treatment of conditions associated with increased calcium intake (osteoporosis, fractures, caries, periodontitis), on the one hand, and the utilization of mollusc processing waste – on the other hand.

All works are based on the application of a wide range of research methods (experimental on rats, physiological tests, biochemical, technological, chromatographic) with the involvement of Scientific-production association "Odeska Biotekhnolohiia" (Odesa Biotechnology SPA), which have the necessary chromatographic equipment and production facilities.

The main purpose of the staff and postgraduate students of the department is not only the preservation of the high level of the department, which has been achieved by our predecessors, but also meet new challenges of modernity, namely: confirmation of the scientific schools and research priorities, modernization of the department and its research and training capacity.


Dvoryanskaya str., 2,Odessa, 65082
Reception: (38-048)723-52-54
Phone/fax: (38-048)723-35-15
Email: rector@onu.edu.ua

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