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Muscle Tissue

Muscle Tissue

There are three types of muscle tissue:

  1. Skeletal
  2. Smooth
  3. Cardiac

Skeletal and cardiac muscle are striated. Striated muscle cells are striped, with regular patterns of proteins responsible for contraction. Striated muscle contracts and relaxes in short bursts, whereas smooth muscle contracts for longer.

1. Skeletal muscle is a voluntary muscle. It is striated in appearance. Skeletal muscle tissue has regularly arranged bundles. It is anchored by tendons and is used to effect skeletal muscle movement such as locomotion and maintain posture. The muscles have a reflex action but can also respond to conscious control.

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Skeletal muscle tissue

2. Cardiac muscle is the major tissue making up the heart. It is an involuntary muscle that is striated in appearance. However, unlike skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle connects at branching, irregular angles. The connected branches help with coordinated contractions of the heart.

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Cardiac muscle.

3. Smooth muscle is an involuntary, non-striated muscle with tapered ends. It is found within the walls of blood vessels such as arteries and veins. Smooth muscle is also found in the digestive system, urinary tract and in the trachea. It is responsible for involuntary rhythmic contractions of peristalsis required for moving food down the alimentary canal, and for the dilation and construction of blood vessels to control blood pressure.

DiagramMicrograph
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Smooth muscle cells.

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Smooth muscle cells.

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