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Muscle Tissue: Histology

Muscle tissue is one of the basic tissue types. Histologically, the muscles of the body can be classified into 3 types: skeletal, smooth, and cardiac Cardiac Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR). The 3 types of muscle tissue are based on the morphologic and functional properties of the cells. One of the defining characteristics of muscle tissue is its contractility, which generates forces that move the musculoskeletal system as well as cause movement in the vasculature and multiple organ systems. This contractility is due to specialized proteins Proteins Linear polypeptides that are synthesized on ribosomes and may be further modified, crosslinked, cleaved, or assembled into complex proteins with several subunits. The specific sequence of amino acids determines the shape the polypeptide will take, during protein folding, and the function of the protein. Energy Homeostasis known as myofilaments, which create organized structures that have the ability to lengthen and contract.

Last updated: 9 Mar, 2022

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Overview

Definition

Muscle tissue is made up of muscle cells known as myocytes, which is one of the primary tissue types.

Development

Primary characteristics

  • Contractibility Contractibility Skeletal Muscle Contraction
    • Universal muscle cell property
    • Requires special protein filaments called myofilaments
    • Myofilaments include actin Actin Filamentous proteins that are the main constituent of the thin filaments of muscle fibers. The filaments (known also as filamentous or f-actin) can be dissociated into their globular subunits; each subunit is composed of a single polypeptide 375 amino acids long. This is known as globular or g-actin. In conjunction with myosins, actin is responsible for the contraction and relaxation of muscle. Skeletal Muscle Contraction (thin), myosin Myosin A diverse superfamily of proteins that function as translocating proteins. They share the common characteristics of being able to bind actins and hydrolyze mgATP. Myosins generally consist of heavy chains which are involved in locomotion, and light chains which are involved in regulation. Within the structure of myosin heavy chain are three domains: the head, the neck and the tail. The head region of the heavy chain contains the actin binding domain and mgATPase domain which provides energy for locomotion. The neck region is involved in binding the light-chains. The tail region provides the anchoring point that maintains the position of the heavy chain. The superfamily of myosins is organized into structural classes based upon the type and arrangement of the subunits they contain. Skeletal Muscle Contraction (thick), and other proteins Proteins Linear polypeptides that are synthesized on ribosomes and may be further modified, crosslinked, cleaved, or assembled into complex proteins with several subunits. The specific sequence of amino acids determines the shape the polypeptide will take, during protein folding, and the function of the protein. Energy Homeostasis 
  • Excitability Excitability Skeletal Muscle Contraction: responds to stimulus (including electrical, hormonal, and mechanical)
  • Extensibility Extensibility Skeletal Muscle Contraction: ability to extend/stretch
  • Elasticity Elasticity Resistance and recovery from distortion of shape. Skeletal Muscle Contraction: ability to recoil Recoil Vessels can stretch and return to their original shape after receiving the stroke volume of blood ejected by the left ventricle during systole. Arteries: Histology/return to normal shape when tension is released.

Functions

  • Movement (by exerting a physical force on bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types)
  • Stability:
    • Support of the skeleton
    • Stabilize joints
    • Maintain posture
  • Control of body passages and openings:
  • Heat Heat Inflammation production: muscle contraction generates heat Heat Inflammation.

Types

There are 3 types of muscle tissue based on morphologic and functional differences: 

  • Skeletal muscles: 
    • Movement of skeleton and other structures (e.g., the eyes)
    • Long, multinucleated cells with striations
    • Primarily under voluntary control (though some actions are automatic)
  • Smooth muscles: 
    • Walls of vessels/hollow organs (e.g., intestines, blood vessels)
    • Fusiform cells without striations (lack banding pattern)
    • Slower, involuntary contractions
  • Cardiac Cardiac Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR) muscle/ myocardium Myocardium The muscle tissue of the heart. It is composed of striated, involuntary muscle cells connected to form the contractile pump to generate blood flow. Heart: Anatomy
    • Form most of the walls of the heart
    • Striated, elongated, branched cells 
    • Under involuntary control

Striated versus nonstriated muscle

  • Related to appearance of contractile proteins Contractile proteins Proteins which participate in contractile processes. They include muscle proteins as well as those found in other cells and tissues. In the latter, these proteins participate in localized contractile events in the cytoplasm, in motile activity, and in cell aggregation phenomena. Proteins and Peptides on microscopy
  • Striated: 
    • Actin Actin Filamentous proteins that are the main constituent of the thin filaments of muscle fibers. The filaments (known also as filamentous or f-actin) can be dissociated into their globular subunits; each subunit is composed of a single polypeptide 375 amino acids long. This is known as globular or g-actin. In conjunction with myosins, actin is responsible for the contraction and relaxation of muscle. Skeletal Muscle Contraction and myosin Myosin A diverse superfamily of proteins that function as translocating proteins. They share the common characteristics of being able to bind actins and hydrolyze mgATP. Myosins generally consist of heavy chains which are involved in locomotion, and light chains which are involved in regulation. Within the structure of myosin heavy chain are three domains: the head, the neck and the tail. The head region of the heavy chain contains the actin binding domain and mgATPase domain which provides energy for locomotion. The neck region is involved in binding the light-chains. The tail region provides the anchoring point that maintains the position of the heavy chain. The superfamily of myosins is organized into structural classes based upon the type and arrangement of the subunits they contain. Skeletal Muscle Contraction myofilament proteins Proteins Linear polypeptides that are synthesized on ribosomes and may be further modified, crosslinked, cleaved, or assembled into complex proteins with several subunits. The specific sequence of amino acids determines the shape the polypeptide will take, during protein folding, and the function of the protein. Energy Homeostasis are arranged in a regular Regular Insulin pattern of functional units known as sarcomeres.
    • Skeletal and cardiac Cardiac Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR) muscle
  • Nonstriated: 
    • Actin Actin Filamentous proteins that are the main constituent of the thin filaments of muscle fibers. The filaments (known also as filamentous or f-actin) can be dissociated into their globular subunits; each subunit is composed of a single polypeptide 375 amino acids long. This is known as globular or g-actin. In conjunction with myosins, actin is responsible for the contraction and relaxation of muscle. Skeletal Muscle Contraction and myosin Myosin A diverse superfamily of proteins that function as translocating proteins. They share the common characteristics of being able to bind actins and hydrolyze mgATP. Myosins generally consist of heavy chains which are involved in locomotion, and light chains which are involved in regulation. Within the structure of myosin heavy chain are three domains: the head, the neck and the tail. The head region of the heavy chain contains the actin binding domain and mgATPase domain which provides energy for locomotion. The neck region is involved in binding the light-chains. The tail region provides the anchoring point that maintains the position of the heavy chain. The superfamily of myosins is organized into structural classes based upon the type and arrangement of the subunits they contain. Skeletal Muscle Contraction proteins Proteins Linear polypeptides that are synthesized on ribosomes and may be further modified, crosslinked, cleaved, or assembled into complex proteins with several subunits. The specific sequence of amino acids determines the shape the polypeptide will take, during protein folding, and the function of the protein. Energy Homeostasis are arranged in an irregular pattern (i.e., they lack typical sarcomere organization).
    • Smooth muscle

Skeletal Muscle

General characteristics

  • Type: striated muscle tissue
  • Contributes approximately 40% of total human body weight
  • Over 650 skeletal muscles
  • Controlled by the somatic nervous system Nervous system The nervous system is a small and complex system that consists of an intricate network of neural cells (or neurons) and even more glial cells (for support and insulation). It is divided according to its anatomical components as well as its functional characteristics. The brain and spinal cord are referred to as the central nervous system, and the branches of nerves from these structures are referred to as the peripheral nervous system. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification
  • Primarily voluntary control

Gross structure of muscle and surrounding connective tissue Connective tissue Connective tissues originate from embryonic mesenchyme and are present throughout the body except inside the brain and spinal cord. The main function of connective tissues is to provide structural support to organs. Connective tissues consist of cells and an extracellular matrix. Connective Tissue: Histology

The muscle is arranged in a hierarchical structure:

  • Whole muscle:
    • Made up of multiple muscle fascicles
    • Surrounded by epimysium: 
      • External sheath of connective tissue Connective tissue Connective tissues originate from embryonic mesenchyme and are present throughout the body except inside the brain and spinal cord. The main function of connective tissues is to provide structural support to organs. Connective tissues consist of cells and an extracellular matrix. Connective Tissue: Histology surrounding the whole muscle
      • Separates whole muscles from one another
      • Covered by fascia Fascia Layers of connective tissue of variable thickness. The superficial fascia is found immediately below the skin; the deep fascia invests muscles, nerves, and other organs. Cellulitis
      • Contains collagen Collagen A polypeptide substance comprising about one third of the total protein in mammalian organisms. It is the main constituent of skin; connective tissue; and the organic substance of bones (bone and bones) and teeth (tooth). Connective Tissue: Histology fibers, which become continuous with periosteum Periosteum Thin outer membrane that surrounds a bone. It contains connective tissue, capillaries, nerves, and a number of cell types. Bones: Structure and Types of bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types
  • Muscle fascicle: 
    • Bundles of individual muscle fibers
    • Surrounded by perimysium:
      • Thin sheaths of connective tissue Connective tissue Connective tissues originate from embryonic mesenchyme and are present throughout the body except inside the brain and spinal cord. The main function of connective tissues is to provide structural support to organs. Connective tissues consist of cells and an extracellular matrix. Connective Tissue: Histology
      • Continuous with epimysium at their ends
  • Muscle fibers: 
    • Individual muscle cells (but typically called “fibers” because they are so long)
    • Immediately encased by sarcolemma (muscle cell–specific cell membrane Cell Membrane A cell membrane (also known as the plasma membrane or plasmalemma) is a biological membrane that separates the cell contents from the outside environment. A cell membrane is composed of a phospholipid bilayer and proteins that function to protect cellular DNA and mediate the exchange of ions and molecules. The Cell: Cell Membrane)
    • Surrounded by endomysium: 
      • Thin sheaths of areolar connective tissue Connective tissue Connective tissues originate from embryonic mesenchyme and are present throughout the body except inside the brain and spinal cord. The main function of connective tissues is to provide structural support to organs. Connective tissues consist of cells and an extracellular matrix. Connective Tissue: Histology
      • Contain capillaries Capillaries Capillaries are the primary structures in the circulatory system that allow the exchange of gas, nutrients, and other materials between the blood and the extracellular fluid (ECF). Capillaries are the smallest of the blood vessels. Because a capillary diameter is so small, only 1 RBC may pass through at a time. Capillaries: Histology and nerve fibers Nerve Fibers Slender processes of neurons, including the axons and their glial envelopes (myelin sheath). Nerve fibers conduct nerve impulses to and from the central nervous system. Nervous System: Histology to supply each cell/fiber
      • Continuous with perimysium and epimysium at their ends
    • Have several hundred to several thousand myofibrils in each muscle fiber
  • Myofibrils: 
    • Long functional subunits made up of myofilaments within a muscle cell
    • Surrounded by sarcoplasmic reticulum
    • Take up a majority of the sarcoplasm 
  • Myofilaments: individual contractile proteins Contractile proteins Proteins which participate in contractile processes. They include muscle proteins as well as those found in other cells and tissues. In the latter, these proteins participate in localized contractile events in the cytoplasm, in motile activity, and in cell aggregation phenomena. Proteins and Peptides

Microscopic structures

  • General skeletal muscle fiber characteristics:
    • Multinucleated cells
    • Nuclei sit on the periphery of the cell.
    • Diameter: 10–100 µm  
  • Sarcolemma: 
    • Muscle cell membrane Cell Membrane A cell membrane (also known as the plasma membrane or plasmalemma) is a biological membrane that separates the cell contents from the outside environment. A cell membrane is composed of a phospholipid bilayer and proteins that function to protect cellular DNA and mediate the exchange of ions and molecules. The Cell: Cell Membrane
    • Contain transverse (T) tubules: 
      • Channel-like openings that penetrate through the fiber, carrying electrical signals to all the myofibrils within it.
      • In close contact with the sarcoplasmic reticulum
  • Sarcoplasm: 
    • Muscle cell cytoplasm
    • Primarily filled with protein bundles called myofibrils
    • Other organelles Organelles A cell is a complex unit that performs several complex functions. An organelle is a specialized subunit within a cell that fulfills a specific role or function. Organelles are enclosed within their own lipid bilayers or are unbound by membranes. The Cell: Organelles exist between the myofibrils.
    • Contains high amounts of:
      • Myoglobin Myoglobin A conjugated protein which is the oxygen-transporting pigment of muscle. It is made up of one globin polypeptide chain and one heme group. Rhabdomyolysis: binds/stores O2 until it is needed
      • Glycogen: used for energy
  • Sarcoplasmic reticulum: 
    • Specialized smooth endoplasmic reticulum Endoplasmic reticulum A system of cisternae in the cytoplasm of many cells. In places the endoplasmic reticulum is continuous with the plasma membrane (cell membrane) or outer membrane of the nuclear envelope. If the outer surfaces of the endoplasmic reticulum membranes are coated with ribosomes, the endoplasmic reticulum is said to be rough-surfaced; otherwise it is said to be smooth-surfaced. The Cell: Organelles
    • Forms a network around each myofibril
    • Ends dilate into structures called the terminal cisternae, which line the T tubules
    • Stores calcium Calcium A basic element found in nearly all tissues. It is a member of the alkaline earth family of metals with the atomic symbol ca, atomic number 20, and atomic weight 40. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and combines with phosphorus to form calcium phosphate in the bones and teeth. It is essential for the normal functioning of nerves and muscles and plays a role in blood coagulation (as factor IV) and in many enzymatic processes. Electrolytes, which can be released via gated channels Channels The Cell: Cell Membrane (important during muscle contraction)
  • Myofilaments:
    • Refers to individual proteins Proteins Linear polypeptides that are synthesized on ribosomes and may be further modified, crosslinked, cleaved, or assembled into complex proteins with several subunits. The specific sequence of amino acids determines the shape the polypeptide will take, during protein folding, and the function of the protein. Energy Homeostasis that together cause muscle contraction.
    • Contractile proteins Contractile proteins Proteins which participate in contractile processes. They include muscle proteins as well as those found in other cells and tissues. In the latter, these proteins participate in localized contractile events in the cytoplasm, in motile activity, and in cell aggregation phenomena. Proteins and Peptides
      • Actin Actin Filamentous proteins that are the main constituent of the thin filaments of muscle fibers. The filaments (known also as filamentous or f-actin) can be dissociated into their globular subunits; each subunit is composed of a single polypeptide 375 amino acids long. This is known as globular or g-actin. In conjunction with myosins, actin is responsible for the contraction and relaxation of muscle. Skeletal Muscle Contraction: thin myofilaments made of 2 long-coiling protein strands
      • Myosin Myosin A diverse superfamily of proteins that function as translocating proteins. They share the common characteristics of being able to bind actins and hydrolyze mgATP. Myosins generally consist of heavy chains which are involved in locomotion, and light chains which are involved in regulation. Within the structure of myosin heavy chain are three domains: the head, the neck and the tail. The head region of the heavy chain contains the actin binding domain and mgATPase domain which provides energy for locomotion. The neck region is involved in binding the light-chains. The tail region provides the anchoring point that maintains the position of the heavy chain. The superfamily of myosins is organized into structural classes based upon the type and arrangement of the subunits they contain. Skeletal Muscle Contraction: thick myofilament proteins Proteins Linear polypeptides that are synthesized on ribosomes and may be further modified, crosslinked, cleaved, or assembled into complex proteins with several subunits. The specific sequence of amino acids determines the shape the polypeptide will take, during protein folding, and the function of the protein. Energy Homeostasis with a main shaft and a globular head on each end
    • Regulatory proteins Regulatory proteins Proteins and Peptides: regulate binding of actin Actin Filamentous proteins that are the main constituent of the thin filaments of muscle fibers. The filaments (known also as filamentous or f-actin) can be dissociated into their globular subunits; each subunit is composed of a single polypeptide 375 amino acids long. This is known as globular or g-actin. In conjunction with myosins, actin is responsible for the contraction and relaxation of muscle. Skeletal Muscle Contraction to myosin Myosin A diverse superfamily of proteins that function as translocating proteins. They share the common characteristics of being able to bind actins and hydrolyze mgATP. Myosins generally consist of heavy chains which are involved in locomotion, and light chains which are involved in regulation. Within the structure of myosin heavy chain are three domains: the head, the neck and the tail. The head region of the heavy chain contains the actin binding domain and mgATPase domain which provides energy for locomotion. The neck region is involved in binding the light-chains. The tail region provides the anchoring point that maintains the position of the heavy chain. The superfamily of myosins is organized into structural classes based upon the type and arrangement of the subunits they contain. Skeletal Muscle Contraction
      • Tropomyosin Tropomyosin A protein found in the thin filaments of muscle fibers. It inhibits contraction of the muscle unless its position is modified by troponin. Skeletal Muscle Contraction: blocks the binding sites on actin Actin Filamentous proteins that are the main constituent of the thin filaments of muscle fibers. The filaments (known also as filamentous or f-actin) can be dissociated into their globular subunits; each subunit is composed of a single polypeptide 375 amino acids long. This is known as globular or g-actin. In conjunction with myosins, actin is responsible for the contraction and relaxation of muscle. Skeletal Muscle Contraction when muscle is relaxed
      • Troponin: calcium Calcium A basic element found in nearly all tissues. It is a member of the alkaline earth family of metals with the atomic symbol ca, atomic number 20, and atomic weight 40. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and combines with phosphorus to form calcium phosphate in the bones and teeth. It is essential for the normal functioning of nerves and muscles and plays a role in blood coagulation (as factor IV) and in many enzymatic processes. Electrolytes-binding proteins Proteins Linear polypeptides that are synthesized on ribosomes and may be further modified, crosslinked, cleaved, or assembled into complex proteins with several subunits. The specific sequence of amino acids determines the shape the polypeptide will take, during protein folding, and the function of the protein. Energy Homeostasis that control contractions
    • Elastic Elastic Connective Tissue: Histology filament titin: runs through the core of the myosin Myosin A diverse superfamily of proteins that function as translocating proteins. They share the common characteristics of being able to bind actins and hydrolyze mgATP. Myosins generally consist of heavy chains which are involved in locomotion, and light chains which are involved in regulation. Within the structure of myosin heavy chain are three domains: the head, the neck and the tail. The head region of the heavy chain contains the actin binding domain and mgATPase domain which provides energy for locomotion. The neck region is involved in binding the light-chains. The tail region provides the anchoring point that maintains the position of the heavy chain. The superfamily of myosins is organized into structural classes based upon the type and arrangement of the subunits they contain. Skeletal Muscle Contraction, emerges from the end of it, and connects to the Z line Z line Skeletal Muscle Contraction
    • Myofilaments are organized into sarcomeres:
      • Functional units of striated muscles
      • Made up of regular Regular Insulin repeating units of interlocking actin Actin Filamentous proteins that are the main constituent of the thin filaments of muscle fibers. The filaments (known also as filamentous or f-actin) can be dissociated into their globular subunits; each subunit is composed of a single polypeptide 375 amino acids long. This is known as globular or g-actin. In conjunction with myosins, actin is responsible for the contraction and relaxation of muscle. Skeletal Muscle Contraction and myosin Myosin A diverse superfamily of proteins that function as translocating proteins. They share the common characteristics of being able to bind actins and hydrolyze mgATP. Myosins generally consist of heavy chains which are involved in locomotion, and light chains which are involved in regulation. Within the structure of myosin heavy chain are three domains: the head, the neck and the tail. The head region of the heavy chain contains the actin binding domain and mgATPase domain which provides energy for locomotion. The neck region is involved in binding the light-chains. The tail region provides the anchoring point that maintains the position of the heavy chain. The superfamily of myosins is organized into structural classes based upon the type and arrangement of the subunits they contain. Skeletal Muscle Contraction chains
      • Sarcomeres interlock end to end with each other, forming the long myofibrils.
    • Many myofilaments arranged end to end and in parallel make up a myofibril

Microscopic organization: bands seen in striated muscle

The myofibrils are organized in a pattern that creates different bands and zones when viewed under microscopy. These bands are created by overlapping actin Actin Filamentous proteins that are the main constituent of the thin filaments of muscle fibers. The filaments (known also as filamentous or f-actin) can be dissociated into their globular subunits; each subunit is composed of a single polypeptide 375 amino acids long. This is known as globular or g-actin. In conjunction with myosins, actin is responsible for the contraction and relaxation of muscle. Skeletal Muscle Contraction and myosin Myosin A diverse superfamily of proteins that function as translocating proteins. They share the common characteristics of being able to bind actins and hydrolyze mgATP. Myosins generally consist of heavy chains which are involved in locomotion, and light chains which are involved in regulation. Within the structure of myosin heavy chain are three domains: the head, the neck and the tail. The head region of the heavy chain contains the actin binding domain and mgATPase domain which provides energy for locomotion. The neck region is involved in binding the light-chains. The tail region provides the anchoring point that maintains the position of the heavy chain. The superfamily of myosins is organized into structural classes based upon the type and arrangement of the subunits they contain. Skeletal Muscle Contraction strands.

  • Myosin Myosin A diverse superfamily of proteins that function as translocating proteins. They share the common characteristics of being able to bind actins and hydrolyze mgATP. Myosins generally consist of heavy chains which are involved in locomotion, and light chains which are involved in regulation. Within the structure of myosin heavy chain are three domains: the head, the neck and the tail. The head region of the heavy chain contains the actin binding domain and mgATPase domain which provides energy for locomotion. The neck region is involved in binding the light-chains. The tail region provides the anchoring point that maintains the position of the heavy chain. The superfamily of myosins is organized into structural classes based upon the type and arrangement of the subunits they contain. Skeletal Muscle Contraction: thick straight filaments arranged in parallel
  • Actin Actin Filamentous proteins that are the main constituent of the thin filaments of muscle fibers. The filaments (known also as filamentous or f-actin) can be dissociated into their globular subunits; each subunit is composed of a single polypeptide 375 amino acids long. This is known as globular or g-actin. In conjunction with myosins, actin is responsible for the contraction and relaxation of muscle. Skeletal Muscle Contraction
    • Thin filaments
    • Connected to each other at the Z line Z line Skeletal Muscle Contraction
    • Located between each myosin Myosin A diverse superfamily of proteins that function as translocating proteins. They share the common characteristics of being able to bind actins and hydrolyze mgATP. Myosins generally consist of heavy chains which are involved in locomotion, and light chains which are involved in regulation. Within the structure of myosin heavy chain are three domains: the head, the neck and the tail. The head region of the heavy chain contains the actin binding domain and mgATPase domain which provides energy for locomotion. The neck region is involved in binding the light-chains. The tail region provides the anchoring point that maintains the position of the heavy chain. The superfamily of myosins is organized into structural classes based upon the type and arrangement of the subunits they contain. Skeletal Muscle Contraction filament
  • Z band Z band Skeletal Muscle Contraction (also called the Z line Z line Skeletal Muscle Contraction or Z disc Z disc Skeletal Muscle Contraction): 
    • Anchors and separates one sarcomere from another
    • A sarcomere is defined as the region between 2 Z bands.
  • A (anisotropic) bands:
    • Dark bands on microscopy → memory Memory Complex mental function having four distinct phases: (1) memorizing or learning, (2) retention, (3) recall, and (4) recognition. Clinically, it is usually subdivided into immediate, recent, and remote memory. Psychiatric Assessment trick: dark has an A in it
    • Formed by entire length of thick myosin Myosin A diverse superfamily of proteins that function as translocating proteins. They share the common characteristics of being able to bind actins and hydrolyze mgATP. Myosins generally consist of heavy chains which are involved in locomotion, and light chains which are involved in regulation. Within the structure of myosin heavy chain are three domains: the head, the neck and the tail. The head region of the heavy chain contains the actin binding domain and mgATPase domain which provides energy for locomotion. The neck region is involved in binding the light-chains. The tail region provides the anchoring point that maintains the position of the heavy chain. The superfamily of myosins is organized into structural classes based upon the type and arrangement of the subunits they contain. Skeletal Muscle Contraction filaments, which include overlapping actin filaments Actin filaments Fibers composed of microfilament proteins, which are predominately actin. They are the smallest of the cytoskeletal filaments. The Cell: Cytosol and Cytoskeleton at the ends
  • I (isotropic) bands:
    • Light bands on microscopy → memory Memory Complex mental function having four distinct phases: (1) memorizing or learning, (2) retention, (3) recall, and (4) recognition. Clinically, it is usually subdivided into immediate, recent, and remote memory. Psychiatric Assessment trick: light has an I in it
    • Consist of only thin actin filaments Actin filaments Fibers composed of microfilament proteins, which are predominately actin. They are the smallest of the cytoskeletal filaments. The Cell: Cytosol and Cytoskeleton
    • I bands are between the A bands.
    • I bands include the Z band Z band Skeletal Muscle Contraction.
  • H zone H Zone Skeletal Muscle Contraction:
    • Lighter zone in the middle of the A band A band Skeletal Muscle Contraction
    • Consists of only myosin Myosin A diverse superfamily of proteins that function as translocating proteins. They share the common characteristics of being able to bind actins and hydrolyze mgATP. Myosins generally consist of heavy chains which are involved in locomotion, and light chains which are involved in regulation. Within the structure of myosin heavy chain are three domains: the head, the neck and the tail. The head region of the heavy chain contains the actin binding domain and mgATPase domain which provides energy for locomotion. The neck region is involved in binding the light-chains. The tail region provides the anchoring point that maintains the position of the heavy chain. The superfamily of myosins is organized into structural classes based upon the type and arrangement of the subunits they contain. Skeletal Muscle Contraction filaments → excludes the ends of the myosin Myosin A diverse superfamily of proteins that function as translocating proteins. They share the common characteristics of being able to bind actins and hydrolyze mgATP. Myosins generally consist of heavy chains which are involved in locomotion, and light chains which are involved in regulation. Within the structure of myosin heavy chain are three domains: the head, the neck and the tail. The head region of the heavy chain contains the actin binding domain and mgATPase domain which provides energy for locomotion. The neck region is involved in binding the light-chains. The tail region provides the anchoring point that maintains the position of the heavy chain. The superfamily of myosins is organized into structural classes based upon the type and arrangement of the subunits they contain. Skeletal Muscle Contraction that overlap with actin Actin Filamentous proteins that are the main constituent of the thin filaments of muscle fibers. The filaments (known also as filamentous or f-actin) can be dissociated into their globular subunits; each subunit is composed of a single polypeptide 375 amino acids long. This is known as globular or g-actin. In conjunction with myosins, actin is responsible for the contraction and relaxation of muscle. Skeletal Muscle Contraction
  • M bands M Bands Skeletal Muscle Contraction:
    • Fine, dark line in the center of the H zone H Zone Skeletal Muscle Contraction
    • Myosin Myosin A diverse superfamily of proteins that function as translocating proteins. They share the common characteristics of being able to bind actins and hydrolyze mgATP. Myosins generally consist of heavy chains which are involved in locomotion, and light chains which are involved in regulation. Within the structure of myosin heavy chain are three domains: the head, the neck and the tail. The head region of the heavy chain contains the actin binding domain and mgATPase domain which provides energy for locomotion. The neck region is involved in binding the light-chains. The tail region provides the anchoring point that maintains the position of the heavy chain. The superfamily of myosins is organized into structural classes based upon the type and arrangement of the subunits they contain. Skeletal Muscle Contraction-binding proteins Proteins Linear polypeptides that are synthesized on ribosomes and may be further modified, crosslinked, cleaved, or assembled into complex proteins with several subunits. The specific sequence of amino acids determines the shape the polypeptide will take, during protein folding, and the function of the protein. Energy Homeostasis attach here.
  • Striated muscle: gets its name from the ordered appearance of these bands on microscopy, which look like stripes

Types of skeletal muscle fibers

There are 3 primary types of skeletal muscle fibers, found in different muscles throughout the body based on their function.

  • Type I fibers: slow- twitch Twitch An isolated, rapid contraction followed by rapid relaxation Skeletal Muscle Contraction muscles:
    • Slow oxidative fibers
    • Fatigue Fatigue The state of weariness following a period of exertion, mental or physical, characterized by a decreased capacity for work and reduced efficiency to respond to stimuli. Fibromyalgia-resistant motor Motor Neurons which send impulses peripherally to activate muscles or secretory cells. Nervous System: Histology units
    • Small red fibers
    • Example: back muscles Back muscles The back is composed of several muscles of varying sizes and functions, which are grouped into intrinsic (or primary) back muscles and extrinsic (or secondary) back muscles. The extrinsic muscles comprise the superficial and intermediate muscle groups, while the intrinsic muscles comprise the deep muscles. Muscles of the Back: Anatomy used to maintain posture
  • Type II fibers: fast- twitch Twitch An isolated, rapid contraction followed by rapid relaxation Skeletal Muscle Contraction muscles:
    • Type IIA:
      • Fast oxidative, glycolytic fibers
      • Fatigue Fatigue The state of weariness following a period of exertion, mental or physical, characterized by a decreased capacity for work and reduced efficiency to respond to stimuli. Fibromyalgia-resistant
      • Intermediate/medium size
      • Used in movement that requires high sustained power Power The probability that a test will correctly reject a false null hypothesis. Statistical Tests and Data Representation
    • Type IIB:
      • Fast glycolytic fibers
      • Store large amounts of glycogen
      • Fatigue Fatigue The state of weariness following a period of exertion, mental or physical, characterized by a decreased capacity for work and reduced efficiency to respond to stimuli. Fibromyalgia-prone due to buildup of lactic acid during use
      • Large pink fibers

Motor Motor Neurons which send impulses peripherally to activate muscles or secretory cells. Nervous System: Histology innervation of skeletal muscle fiber: the neuromuscular junction Neuromuscular junction The synapse between a neuron and a muscle. Skeletal Muscle Contraction

Skeletal muscle cell contraction requires stimulation by an action potential Action Potential Abrupt changes in the membrane potential that sweep along the cell membrane of excitable cells in response to excitation stimuli. Membrane Potential from motor Motor Neurons which send impulses peripherally to activate muscles or secretory cells. Nervous System: Histology neurons Neurons The basic cellular units of nervous tissue. Each neuron consists of a body, an axon, and dendrites. Their purpose is to receive, conduct, and transmit impulses in the nervous system. Nervous System: Histology

Muscle insertion into bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types

  • Muscles attach to bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types via tendons.
  • Tendons are formed from the 3 connective tissue Connective tissue Connective tissues originate from embryonic mesenchyme and are present throughout the body except inside the brain and spinal cord. The main function of connective tissues is to provide structural support to organs. Connective tissues consist of cells and an extracellular matrix. Connective Tissue: Histology layers surrounding the muscles:
    • Epimysium
    • Perimysium
    • Endomysium
    • Additional connective tissue Connective tissue Connective tissues originate from embryonic mesenchyme and are present throughout the body except inside the brain and spinal cord. The main function of connective tissues is to provide structural support to organs. Connective tissues consist of cells and an extracellular matrix. Connective Tissue: Histology for added strength
  • Tendons become continuous with the periosteum Periosteum Thin outer membrane that surrounds a bone. It contains connective tissue, capillaries, nerves, and a number of cell types. Bones: Structure and Types of bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types.
  • Force generated by the muscle cells is transferred to the surrounding connective tissue Connective tissue Connective tissues originate from embryonic mesenchyme and are present throughout the body except inside the brain and spinal cord. The main function of connective tissues is to provide structural support to organs. Connective tissues consist of cells and an extracellular matrix. Connective Tissue: Histology → tendon → bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types (generating movement)

Gross organizational patterns of skeletal muscles

There are several different types of organizational patterns based on the arrangement of bundles the muscle fascicles:

  • Fusiform: thick in the middle and tapered at each end (e.g., biceps Biceps Arm: Anatomy brachii)
  • Parallel: uniform width of parallel fascicles running along the long axis Axis The second cervical vertebra. Vertebral Column: Anatomy of a muscle (e.g., rectus abdominis Rectus Abdominis A long flat muscle that extends along the whole length of both sides of the abdomen. It flexes the vertebral column, particularly the lumbar portion; it also tenses the anterior abdominal wall and assists in compressing the abdominal contents. It is frequently the site of hematomas. In reconstructive surgery it is often used for the creation of myocutaneous flaps. Anterior Abdominal Wall: Anatomy)
  • Convergent: fan-shaped, having a broad origin inserting with a single tendon (e.g., pectoralis major)
  • Pennate: feather-shaped, having shorter fascicles attaching to a central tendon Central tendon Diaphragm: Anatomy at an oblique angle
    • Unipennate: fascicles all approach the tendon from the same side (e.g., extensor digitorum Extensor digitorum Forearm: Anatomy)
    • Bipennate: fascicles approach the tendon from both sides (e.g., rectus femoris Rectus femoris Thigh: Anatomy)
    • Multipennate: shaped like a bunch of feathers approaching a single tendon (e.g., deltoid)
  • Circular: sphincter or orbicular muscles (e.g., pyloric sphincter in the stomach Stomach The stomach is a muscular sac in the upper left portion of the abdomen that plays a critical role in digestion. The stomach develops from the foregut and connects the esophagus with the duodenum. Structurally, the stomach is C-shaped and forms a greater and lesser curvature and is divided grossly into regions: the cardia, fundus, body, and pylorus. Stomach: Anatomy, orbicularis oculi Orbicularis oculi Facial Muscles: Anatomy of the eyelids Eyelids Each of the upper and lower folds of skin which cover the eye when closed. Blepharitis)
Types of organization within muscles

Types of organization within muscles

Image: “The skeletal muscles of the body typically come in seven different general shapes” by OpenStax College. License: CC BY 4.0

Smooth Muscle

General characteristics

  • Type: nonstriated muscle
  • Called smooth because of the lack of striations on microscopy
  • Involuntary muscles that generally control internal organs and vessels.

Locations

Smooth muscle is primarily found in the walls of hollow structures, including:

  • Vasculature 
  • GI tract: 
    • Esophagus Esophagus The esophagus is a muscular tube-shaped organ of around 25 centimeters in length that connects the pharynx to the stomach. The organ extends from approximately the 6th cervical vertebra to the 11th thoracic vertebra and can be divided grossly into 3 parts: the cervical part, the thoracic part, and the abdominal part. Esophagus: Anatomy
    • Stomach Stomach The stomach is a muscular sac in the upper left portion of the abdomen that plays a critical role in digestion. The stomach develops from the foregut and connects the esophagus with the duodenum. Structurally, the stomach is C-shaped and forms a greater and lesser curvature and is divided grossly into regions: the cardia, fundus, body, and pylorus. Stomach: Anatomy
    • Small and large intestines
    • Rectum Rectum The rectum and anal canal are the most terminal parts of the lower GI tract/large intestine that form a functional unit and control defecation. Fecal continence is maintained by several important anatomic structures including rectal folds, anal valves, the sling-like puborectalis muscle, and internal and external anal sphincters. Rectum and Anal Canal: Anatomy
  • Respiratory tract: 
    • Trachea Trachea The trachea is a tubular structure that forms part of the lower respiratory tract. The trachea is continuous superiorly with the larynx and inferiorly becomes the bronchial tree within the lungs. The trachea consists of a support frame of semicircular, or C-shaped, rings made out of hyaline cartilage and reinforced by collagenous connective tissue. Trachea: Anatomy
    • Bronchi Bronchi The larger air passages of the lungs arising from the terminal bifurcation of the trachea. They include the largest two primary bronchi which branch out into secondary bronchi, and tertiary bronchi which extend into bronchioles and pulmonary alveoli. Bronchial Tree: Anatomy and bronchioles Bronchioles The small airways branching off the tertiary bronchi. Terminal bronchioles lead into several orders of respiratory bronchioles which in turn lead into alveolar ducts and then into pulmonary alveoli. Bronchial Tree: Anatomy
  • Female reproductive tract: 
    • Uterus Uterus The uterus, cervix, and fallopian tubes are part of the internal female reproductive system. The uterus has a thick wall made of smooth muscle (the myometrium) and an inner mucosal layer (the endometrium). The most inferior portion of the uterus is the cervix, which connects the uterine cavity to the vagina. Uterus, Cervix, and Fallopian Tubes: Anatomy
    • Fallopian tubes Fallopian tubes The uterus, cervix, and fallopian tubes are part of the internal female reproductive system. The fallopian tubes receive an ovum after ovulation and help move it and/or a fertilized embryo toward the uterus via ciliated cells lining the tubes and peristaltic movements of its smooth muscle. Uterus, Cervix, and Fallopian Tubes: Anatomy
    • Vagina Vagina The vagina is the female genital canal, extending from the vulva externally to the cervix uteri internally. The structures have sexual, reproductive, and urinary functions and a rich blood supply, mainly arising from the internal iliac artery. Vagina, Vulva, and Pelvic Floor: Anatomy
  • Urinary tract Urinary tract The urinary tract is located in the abdomen and pelvis and consists of the kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder, and urethra. The structures permit the excretion of urine from the body. Urine flows from the kidneys through the ureters to the urinary bladder and out through the urethra. Urinary Tract: Anatomy
    • Ureters Ureters One of a pair of thick-walled tubes that transports urine from the kidney pelvis to the urinary bladder. Urinary Tract: Anatomy
    • Urinary bladder Urinary Bladder A musculomembranous sac along the urinary tract. Urine flows from the kidneys into the bladder via the ureters (ureter), and is held there until urination. Urinary Tract: Anatomy
    • Urethra Urethra A tube that transports urine from the urinary bladder to the outside of the body in both the sexes. It also has a reproductive function in the male by providing a passage for sperm. Urinary Tract: Anatomy
  • Iris Iris The most anterior portion of the uveal layer, separating the anterior chamber from the posterior. It consists of two layers – the stroma and the pigmented epithelium. Color of the iris depends on the amount of melanin in the stroma on reflection from the pigmented epithelium. Eye: Anatomy of the eye
  • Piloerector muscles in hair follicles

Regulatory control

  • Under involuntary control
  • Innervation: via the ANS ANS The ans is a component of the peripheral nervous system that uses both afferent (sensory) and efferent (effector) neurons, which control the functioning of the internal organs and involuntary processes via connections with the CNS. The ans consists of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Autonomic Nervous System: Anatomy
  • Also influenced by hormones Hormones Hormones are messenger molecules that are synthesized in one part of the body and move through the bloodstream to exert specific regulatory effects on another part of the body. Hormones play critical roles in coordinating cellular activities throughout the body in response to the constant changes in both the internal and external environments. Hormones: Overview and Types 

Microscopic structure

  • 1 central nucleus Nucleus Within a eukaryotic cell, a membrane-limited body which contains chromosomes and one or more nucleoli (cell nucleolus). The nuclear membrane consists of a double unit-type membrane which is perforated by a number of pores; the outermost membrane is continuous with the endoplasmic reticulum. A cell may contain more than one nucleus. The Cell: Organelles per smooth muscle cell
  • Fusiform shape (tapered at the ends) arranged in parallel to one another
  • Impulses transmitted through gap junctions Gap Junctions Connections between cells which allow passage of small molecules and electric current. Gap junctions were first described anatomically as regions of close apposition between cells with a narrow (1-2 nm) gap between cell membranes. The variety in the properties of gap junctions is reflected in the number of connexins, the family of proteins which form the junctions. The Cell: Cell Junctions, allowing for peristalsis Peristalsis A movement, caused by sequential muscle contraction, that pushes the contents of the intestines or other tubular organs in one direction. Gastrointestinal Motility
  • Consists of myosin Myosin A diverse superfamily of proteins that function as translocating proteins. They share the common characteristics of being able to bind actins and hydrolyze mgATP. Myosins generally consist of heavy chains which are involved in locomotion, and light chains which are involved in regulation. Within the structure of myosin heavy chain are three domains: the head, the neck and the tail. The head region of the heavy chain contains the actin binding domain and mgATPase domain which provides energy for locomotion. The neck region is involved in binding the light-chains. The tail region provides the anchoring point that maintains the position of the heavy chain. The superfamily of myosins is organized into structural classes based upon the type and arrangement of the subunits they contain. Skeletal Muscle Contraction and actin filaments Actin filaments Fibers composed of microfilament proteins, which are predominately actin. They are the smallest of the cytoskeletal filaments. The Cell: Cytosol and Cytoskeleton:
    • Not arranged in well-ordered sarcomeres
    • Filaments are arranged in a more irregular pattern.
  • Dense bodies:
    • Small masses of proteins Proteins Linear polypeptides that are synthesized on ribosomes and may be further modified, crosslinked, cleaved, or assembled into complex proteins with several subunits. The specific sequence of amino acids determines the shape the polypeptide will take, during protein folding, and the function of the protein. Energy Homeostasis scattered throughout the sarcoplasma and on the inner face of the sarcolemma
    • Thin and thick filaments ( actin Actin Filamentous proteins that are the main constituent of the thin filaments of muscle fibers. The filaments (known also as filamentous or f-actin) can be dissociated into their globular subunits; each subunit is composed of a single polypeptide 375 amino acids long. This is known as globular or g-actin. In conjunction with myosins, actin is responsible for the contraction and relaxation of muscle. Skeletal Muscle Contraction and myosin Myosin A diverse superfamily of proteins that function as translocating proteins. They share the common characteristics of being able to bind actins and hydrolyze mgATP. Myosins generally consist of heavy chains which are involved in locomotion, and light chains which are involved in regulation. Within the structure of myosin heavy chain are three domains: the head, the neck and the tail. The head region of the heavy chain contains the actin binding domain and mgATPase domain which provides energy for locomotion. The neck region is involved in binding the light-chains. The tail region provides the anchoring point that maintains the position of the heavy chain. The superfamily of myosins is organized into structural classes based upon the type and arrangement of the subunits they contain. Skeletal Muscle Contraction): connect to dense bodies, which are functionally like Z discs of striated muscle.
    • Intermediate filaments Intermediate filaments Cytoplasmic filaments intermediate in diameter (about 10 nanometers) between the microfilaments and the microtubules. They may be composed of any of a number of different proteins and form a ring around the cell nucleus. The Cell: Cytosol and Cytoskeleton: connect dense bodies to one another
  • Less sarcoplasmic reticulum
  • No T tubules
  • Structure allows for sustained contraction.

Types of smooth muscle

There are 2 primary types of smooth muscle tissue:

  • Single-unit type:
    • Found in blood vessels and most visceral organs, including those in the digestive, respiratory, urinary, and reproductive tracts
    • More common than the multiple-unit type
    • Often forms multiple layers (e.g., circular and longitudinal layers in the GI tract)
    • Myocytes are electrically coupled via gap junctions Gap Junctions Connections between cells which allow passage of small molecules and electric current. Gap junctions were first described anatomically as regions of close apposition between cells with a narrow (1-2 nm) gap between cell membranes. The variety in the properties of gap junctions is reflected in the number of connexins, the family of proteins which form the junctions. The Cell: Cell Junctions
      • Transmit impulses to adjacent myocytes → produce a functional syncytium (a large number of cells contracting as a single unit)
      • Allow slow, wave-like contraction
  • Multiple-unit type:
    • Individual cells are separated by basement membrane Basement membrane A darkly stained mat-like extracellular matrix (ecm) that separates cell layers, such as epithelium from endothelium or a layer of connective tissue. The ecm layer that supports an overlying epithelium or endothelium is called basal lamina. Basement membrane (bm) can be formed by the fusion of either two adjacent basal laminae or a basal lamina with an adjacent reticular lamina of connective tissue. Bm, composed mainly of type IV collagen; glycoprotein laminin; and proteoglycan, provides barriers as well as channels between interacting cell layers. Thin Basement Membrane Nephropathy (TBMN).
    • Lack gap junctions Gap Junctions Connections between cells which allow passage of small molecules and electric current. Gap junctions were first described anatomically as regions of close apposition between cells with a narrow (1-2 nm) gap between cell membranes. The variety in the properties of gap junctions is reflected in the number of connexins, the family of proteins which form the junctions. The Cell: Cell Junctions
    • Each cell contracts independently from one another.
    • Found in: 
      • Largest arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology and pulmonary passages
      • Piloerector muscles of hair follicles
      • Iris Iris The most anterior portion of the uveal layer, separating the anterior chamber from the posterior. It consists of two layers – the stroma and the pigmented epithelium. Color of the iris depends on the amount of melanin in the stroma on reflection from the pigmented epithelium. Eye: Anatomy of the eye

Cardiac Muscle

General characteristics

  • Type: striated muscle
  • Works autonomously → has its own pacemaker Pacemaker A device designed to stimulate, by electric impulses, contraction of the heart muscles. It may be temporary (external) or permanent (internal or internal-external). Bradyarrhythmias cells
  • Found almost exclusively in the heart (a few cells in aorta Aorta The main trunk of the systemic arteries. Mediastinum and Great Vessels: Anatomy and superior vena cava Superior vena cava The venous trunk which returns blood from the head, neck, upper extremities and chest. Mediastinum and Great Vessels: Anatomy)
  • Central nucleus Nucleus Within a eukaryotic cell, a membrane-limited body which contains chromosomes and one or more nucleoli (cell nucleolus). The nuclear membrane consists of a double unit-type membrane which is perforated by a number of pores; the outermost membrane is continuous with the endoplasmic reticulum. A cell may contain more than one nucleus. The Cell: Organelles
  • Cells have multiple branches → 1 cell connects to many others via intercalated discs
  • Cells are arranged in a woven pattern in spiraling layers:
    • Produces a wave A wave Cardiac Cycle of contraction, wringing out the heart chambers when they contract
    • Muscle of ventricles much thicker than atria
  • Contain many mitochondria Mitochondria Semiautonomous, self-reproducing organelles that occur in the cytoplasm of all cells of most, but not all, eukaryotes. Each mitochondrion is surrounded by a double limiting membrane. The inner membrane is highly invaginated, and its projections are called cristae. Mitochondria are the sites of the reactions of oxidative phosphorylation, which result in the formation of ATP. They contain distinctive ribosomes, transfer RNAs; amino Acyl tRNA synthetases; and elongation and termination factors. Mitochondria depend upon genes within the nucleus of the cells in which they reside for many essential messenger RNAs. Mitochondria are believed to have arisen from aerobic bacteria that established a symbiotic relationship with primitive protoeukaryotes. The Cell: Organelles to produce ATP to meet energy demands of cells
  • Actin Actin Filamentous proteins that are the main constituent of the thin filaments of muscle fibers. The filaments (known also as filamentous or f-actin) can be dissociated into their globular subunits; each subunit is composed of a single polypeptide 375 amino acids long. This is known as globular or g-actin. In conjunction with myosins, actin is responsible for the contraction and relaxation of muscle. Skeletal Muscle Contraction and myosin Myosin A diverse superfamily of proteins that function as translocating proteins. They share the common characteristics of being able to bind actins and hydrolyze mgATP. Myosins generally consist of heavy chains which are involved in locomotion, and light chains which are involved in regulation. Within the structure of myosin heavy chain are three domains: the head, the neck and the tail. The head region of the heavy chain contains the actin binding domain and mgATPase domain which provides energy for locomotion. The neck region is involved in binding the light-chains. The tail region provides the anchoring point that maintains the position of the heavy chain. The superfamily of myosins is organized into structural classes based upon the type and arrangement of the subunits they contain. Skeletal Muscle Contraction filament arrangement similar to that seen in skeletal muscle → sarcomeres form the striation pattern

Intercalated discs

  • Unique to cardiac Cardiac Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR) cells
  • Connect neighboring cardiomyocytes with each other, end to end
  • Irregular, transverse, thick parts of the sarcolemma at the terminal ends of the cell branches 
  • Composed of:
    • Desmosomes Desmosomes A type of junction that attaches one cell to its neighbor. One of a number of differentiated regions which occur, for example, where the cytoplasmic membranes of adjacent epithelial cells are closely apposed. It consists of a circular region of each membrane together with associated intracellular microfilaments and an intercellular material which may include, for example, mucopolysaccharides. Bullous Pemphigoid and Pemphigus Vulgaris: proteins Proteins Linear polypeptides that are synthesized on ribosomes and may be further modified, crosslinked, cleaved, or assembled into complex proteins with several subunits. The specific sequence of amino acids determines the shape the polypeptide will take, during protein folding, and the function of the protein. Energy Homeostasis anchoring 1 cell to another
    • Gap junctions Gap Junctions Connections between cells which allow passage of small molecules and electric current. Gap junctions were first described anatomically as regions of close apposition between cells with a narrow (1-2 nm) gap between cell membranes. The variety in the properties of gap junctions is reflected in the number of connexins, the family of proteins which form the junctions. The Cell: Cell Junctions: 
Structure of the intercalated discs within cardiac muscle

Structure of the intercalated discs within cardiac Cardiac Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR) muscle

Image: “Intercalated discs are part of the cardiac Cardiac Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR) muscle sarcolemma and they contain gap junctions Gap Junctions Connections between cells which allow passage of small molecules and electric current. Gap junctions were first described anatomically as regions of close apposition between cells with a narrow (1-2 nm) gap between cell membranes. The variety in the properties of gap junctions is reflected in the number of connexins, the family of proteins which form the junctions. The Cell: Cell Junctions and desmosomes Desmosomes A type of junction that attaches one cell to its neighbor. One of a number of differentiated regions which occur, for example, where the cytoplasmic membranes of adjacent epithelial cells are closely apposed. It consists of a circular region of each membrane together with associated intracellular microfilaments and an intercellular material which may include, for example, mucopolysaccharides. Bullous Pemphigoid and Pemphigus Vulgaris” by OpenStax College. License: CC BY 4.0

Control of contractions

  • Can contract without nervous stimulation (unlike skeletal muscle)
  • Contains intrinsic pacemaker Pacemaker A device designed to stimulate, by electric impulses, contraction of the heart muscles. It may be temporary (external) or permanent (internal or internal-external). Bradyarrhythmias cells within the sinoatrial (SA) node 
  • Receives fibers from the ANS ANS The ans is a component of the peripheral nervous system that uses both afferent (sensory) and efferent (effector) neurons, which control the functioning of the internal organs and involuntary processes via connections with the CNS. The ans consists of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Autonomic Nervous System: Anatomy, which can affect Affect The feeling-tone accompaniment of an idea or mental representation. It is the most direct psychic derivative of instinct and the psychic representative of the various bodily changes by means of which instincts manifest themselves. Psychiatric Assessment:
    • Heart rate Heart rate The number of times the heart ventricles contract per unit of time, usually per minute. Cardiac Physiology
    • Contraction strength

Related videos

Comparison of Skeletal, Smooth, and Cardiac Muscle Tissue

Table: Characteristics of muscle types
Type Location Striated versus nonstriated Motor Motor Neurons which send impulses peripherally to activate muscles or secretory cells. Nervous System: Histology end plates Characteristics of cells Control
Skeletal Skeletal muscles Striated Present
  • Long, cylindrical
  • Multinucleated
Voluntary
Smooth
  • Walls of hollow organs
  • Blood vessels
Nonstriated Absent
  • Shorter, tapered cells
  • Single central nucleus Nucleus Within a eukaryotic cell, a membrane-limited body which contains chromosomes and one or more nucleoli (cell nucleolus). The nuclear membrane consists of a double unit-type membrane which is perforated by a number of pores; the outermost membrane is continuous with the endoplasmic reticulum. A cell may contain more than one nucleus. The Cell: Organelles
Involuntary
Cardiac Cardiac Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR) Wall of heart Striated Absent (connected via intercalated discs)
  • Branching networks
  • Single central nucleus Nucleus Within a eukaryotic cell, a membrane-limited body which contains chromosomes and one or more nucleoli (cell nucleolus). The nuclear membrane consists of a double unit-type membrane which is perforated by a number of pores; the outermost membrane is continuous with the endoplasmic reticulum. A cell may contain more than one nucleus. The Cell: Organelles
Involuntary

Clinical Relevance

  • Myositis: inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation of muscle tissue. Myositis is generally secondary to infections Infections Invasion of the host organism by microorganisms or their toxins or by parasites that can cause pathological conditions or diseases. Chronic Granulomatous Disease or inflammatory disorders.
  • Polymyositis Polymyositis Polymyositis (PM) is an autoimmune inflammatory myopathy caused by T cell-mediated muscle injury. The etiology of PM is unclear, but there are several genetic and environmental associations. Polymyositis is most common in middle-aged women and rarely affects children. Polymyositis: autoimmune inflammatory myopathy Myopathy Dermatomyositis caused by T-cell–mediated muscle injury. The etiology is unclear, but there are several genetic and environmental associations. Polymyositis Polymyositis Polymyositis (PM) is an autoimmune inflammatory myopathy caused by T cell-mediated muscle injury. The etiology of PM is unclear, but there are several genetic and environmental associations. Polymyositis is most common in middle-aged women and rarely affects children. Polymyositis is most commonly seen in middle-aged women and rarely affects children. Presentation Presentation The position or orientation of the fetus at near term or during obstetric labor, determined by its relation to the spine of the mother and the birth canal. The normal position is a vertical, cephalic presentation with the fetal vertex flexed on the neck. Normal and Abnormal Labor is with progressive, symmetric, proximal muscle weakness Proximal Muscle Weakness Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome and constitutional symptoms Constitutional Symptoms Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic Antibody (ANCA)-Associated Vasculitis. Complications may arise from respiratory, cardiac Cardiac Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR), or GI involvement. 
  • Rhabdomyolysis Rhabdomyolysis Rhabdomyolysis is characterized by muscle necrosis and the release of toxic intracellular contents, especially myoglobin, into the circulation. Rhabdomyolysis: characterized by muscle necrosis Necrosis The death of cells in an organ or tissue due to disease, injury or failure of the blood supply. Ischemic Cell Damage and the release Release Release of a virus from the host cell following virus assembly and maturation. Egress can occur by host cell lysis, exocytosis, or budding through the plasma membrane. Virology of toxic intracellular contents Toxic Intracellular Contents Rhabdomyolysis, especially myoglobin Myoglobin A conjugated protein which is the oxygen-transporting pigment of muscle. It is made up of one globin polypeptide chain and one heme group. Rhabdomyolysis, into the circulation Circulation The movement of the blood as it is pumped through the cardiovascular system. ABCDE Assessment. Rhabdomyolysis Rhabdomyolysis Rhabdomyolysis is characterized by muscle necrosis and the release of toxic intracellular contents, especially myoglobin, into the circulation. Rhabdomyolysis can result from trauma or direct muscle injuries; however, nonexertional and nontraumatic etiologies (e.g., heatstroke Heatstroke Heatstroke is an illness characterized as a core body temperature exceeding 40°C (104°F) with accompanying neurological symptoms including ataxia, seizures, and/or delirium. Heatstroke is usually due to the body’s inability to regulate its temperature when challenged with an elevated heat load. Heatstroke, immobilization Immobilization Delirium, medication side effects) can also lead to muscle breakdown. The classic triad of symptoms includes myalgia Myalgia Painful sensation in the muscles. Ion Channel Myopathy, weakness, and tea-colored urine Urine Liquid by-product of excretion produced in the kidneys, temporarily stored in the bladder until discharge through the urethra. Bowen Disease and Erythroplasia of Queyrat, but the presentation Presentation The position or orientation of the fetus at near term or during obstetric labor, determined by its relation to the spine of the mother and the birth canal. The normal position is a vertical, cephalic presentation with the fetal vertex flexed on the neck. Normal and Abnormal Labor can be nonspecific. 
  • Compartment syndrome Compartment Syndrome Compartment syndrome is a surgical emergency usually occurring secondary to trauma. The condition is marked by increased pressure within a compartment that compromises the circulation and function of the tissues within that space. Compartment Syndrome: condition that occurs when increased pressure in a closed muscle compartment Closed Muscle Compartment Compartment Syndrome exceeds the pressure required to perfuse the compartment, resulting in muscle and nerve ischemia Ischemia A hypoperfusion of the blood through an organ or tissue caused by a pathologic constriction or obstruction of its blood vessels, or an absence of blood circulation. Ischemic Cell Damage. Compartment syndrome Compartment Syndrome Compartment syndrome is a surgical emergency usually occurring secondary to trauma. The condition is marked by increased pressure within a compartment that compromises the circulation and function of the tissues within that space. Compartment Syndrome is often caused by trauma, such as long- bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types fractures, crush injuries, and burns Burns A burn is a type of injury to the skin and deeper tissues caused by exposure to heat, electricity, chemicals, friction, or radiation. Burns are classified according to their depth as superficial (1st-degree), partial-thickness (2nd-degree), full-thickness (3rd-degree), and 4th-degree burns. Burns, but it can also be caused by nontraumatic etiologies, such as intense muscle activity, group A streptococcal infections Infections Invasion of the host organism by microorganisms or their toxins or by parasites that can cause pathological conditions or diseases. Chronic Granulomatous Disease, and too-tight casts.
  • Myasthenia gravis Myasthenia Gravis Myasthenia gravis (MG) is an autoimmune neuromuscular disorder characterized by weakness and fatigability of skeletal muscles caused by dysfunction/destruction of acetylcholine receptors at the neuromuscular junction. MG presents with fatigue, ptosis, diplopia, dysphagia, respiratory difficulties, and progressive weakness in the limbs, leading to difficulty in movement. Myasthenia Gravis: autoimmune disorder Autoimmune Disorder Septic Arthritis caused by antibodies Antibodies Immunoglobulins (Igs), also known as antibodies, are glycoprotein molecules produced by plasma cells that act in immune responses by recognizing and binding particular antigens. The various Ig classes are IgG (the most abundant), IgM, IgE, IgD, and IgA, which differ in their biologic features, structure, target specificity, and distribution. Immunoglobulins: Types and Functions against postsynaptic acetylcholine Acetylcholine A neurotransmitter found at neuromuscular junctions, autonomic ganglia, parasympathetic effector junctions, a subset of sympathetic effector junctions, and at many sites in the central nervous system. Receptors and Neurotransmitters of the CNS receptors Receptors Receptors are proteins located either on the surface of or within a cell that can bind to signaling molecules known as ligands (e.g., hormones) and cause some type of response within the cell. Receptors at the neuromuscular junction Neuromuscular junction The synapse between a neuron and a muscle. Skeletal Muscle Contraction. The disorder can affect Affect The feeling-tone accompaniment of an idea or mental representation. It is the most direct psychic derivative of instinct and the psychic representative of the various bodily changes by means of which instincts manifest themselves. Psychiatric Assessment ocular, bulbar, extremity and respiratory muscles, causing weakness and fatigue Fatigue The state of weariness following a period of exertion, mental or physical, characterized by a decreased capacity for work and reduced efficiency to respond to stimuli. Fibromyalgia that fluctuates throughout the day. 
  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy Duchenne muscular dystrophy Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is an X-linked recessive genetic disorder that is caused by a mutation in the DMD gene. The mutation leads to the production of abnormal dystrophin, resulting in muscle-fiber destruction and replacement with fatty or fibrous tissue. Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy ( DMD DMD Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is an X-linked recessive genetic disorder that is caused by a mutation in the dmd gene. The mutation leads to the production of abnormal dystrophin, resulting in muscle-fiber destruction and replacement with fatty or fibrous tissue. Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy): X-linked recessive X-Linked Recessive Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy genetic disorder that is caused by a mutation Mutation Genetic mutations are errors in DNA that can cause protein misfolding and dysfunction. There are various types of mutations, including chromosomal, point, frameshift, and expansion mutations. Types of Mutations in the DMD DMD Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is an X-linked recessive genetic disorder that is caused by a mutation in the dmd gene. The mutation leads to the production of abnormal dystrophin, resulting in muscle-fiber destruction and replacement with fatty or fibrous tissue. Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy gene Gene A category of nucleic acid sequences that function as units of heredity and which code for the basic instructions for the development, reproduction, and maintenance of organisms. Basic Terms of Genetics. This mutation Mutation Genetic mutations are errors in DNA that can cause protein misfolding and dysfunction. There are various types of mutations, including chromosomal, point, frameshift, and expansion mutations. Types of Mutations leads to production of abnormal dystrophin Dystrophin A muscle protein localized in surface membranes which is the product of the Duchenne/Becker muscular dystrophy gene. Individuals with Duchenne muscular dystrophy usually lack dystrophin completely while those with Becker muscular dystrophy have dystrophin of an altered size. It shares features with other cytoskeletal proteins such as spectrin and alpha-actinin but the precise function of dystrophin is not clear. One possible role might be to preserve the integrity and alignment of the plasma membrane to the myofibrils during muscle contraction and relaxation. Blotting Techniques, resulting in muscle fiber destruction and replacement with fatty or fibrous Fibrous Fibrocystic Change tissue. Affected boys present with progressive proximal muscle weakness Proximal Muscle Weakness Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome that leads to the eventual loss of ambulation, contractures Contractures Prolonged shortening of the muscle or other soft tissue around a joint, preventing movement of the joint. Wound Healing, scoliosis Scoliosis Scoliosis is a structural alteration of the vertebral column characterized by a lateral spinal curvature of greater than 10 degrees in the coronal plane. Scoliosis can be classified as idiopathic (in most cases) or secondary to underlying conditions. Scoliosis, cardiomyopathy Cardiomyopathy Cardiomyopathy refers to a group of myocardial diseases associated with structural changes of the heart muscles (myocardium) and impaired systolic and/or diastolic function in the absence of other heart disorders (coronary artery disease, hypertension, valvular disease, and congenital heart disease). Cardiomyopathy: Overview and Types, and respiratory failure Respiratory failure Respiratory failure is a syndrome that develops when the respiratory system is unable to maintain oxygenation and/or ventilation. Respiratory failure may be acute or chronic and is classified as hypoxemic, hypercapnic, or a combination of the two. Respiratory Failure
  • Myocardial infarction Myocardial infarction MI is ischemia and death of an area of myocardial tissue due to insufficient blood flow and oxygenation, usually from thrombus formation on a ruptured atherosclerotic plaque in the epicardial arteries. Clinical presentation is most commonly with chest pain, but women and patients with diabetes may have atypical symptoms. Myocardial Infarction: ischemia Ischemia A hypoperfusion of the blood through an organ or tissue caused by a pathologic constriction or obstruction of its blood vessels, or an absence of blood circulation. Ischemic Cell Damage and death of an area of myocardial tissue due to insufficient blood flow Flow Blood flows through the heart, arteries, capillaries, and veins in a closed, continuous circuit. Flow is the movement of volume per unit of time. Flow is affected by the pressure gradient and the resistance fluid encounters between 2 points. Vascular resistance is the opposition to flow, which is caused primarily by blood friction against vessel walls. Vascular Resistance, Flow, and Mean Arterial Pressure and oxygenation, usually from thrombus formation on a ruptured atherosclerotic plaque Plaque Primary Skin Lesions in the epicardial arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology. Clinical presentation Presentation The position or orientation of the fetus at near term or during obstetric labor, determined by its relation to the spine of the mother and the birth canal. The normal position is a vertical, cephalic presentation with the fetal vertex flexed on the neck. Normal and Abnormal Labor is most commonly with chest pain Chest Pain Chest pain is one of the most common and challenging complaints that may present in an inpatient and outpatient setting. The differential diagnosis of chest pain is large and includes cardiac, gastrointestinal, pulmonary, musculoskeletal, and psychiatric etiologies. Chest Pain, but women and individuals with diabetes Diabetes Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a metabolic disease characterized by hyperglycemia and dysfunction of the regulation of glucose metabolism by insulin. Type 1 DM is diagnosed mostly in children and young adults as the result of autoimmune destruction of β cells in the pancreas and the resulting lack of insulin. Type 2 DM has a significant association with obesity and is characterized by insulin resistance. Diabetes Mellitus may have atypical symptoms. 
  • Cardiomyopathies Cardiomyopathies A group of diseases in which the dominant feature is the involvement of the cardiac muscle itself. Cardiomyopathies are classified according to their predominant pathophysiological features (dilated cardiomyopathy; hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; restrictive cardiomyopathy) or their etiological/pathological factors (cardiomyopathy, alcoholic; endocardial fibroelastosis). Cardiomyopathy: Overview and Types: group of myocardial diseases associated with structural changes of the heart muscles ( myocardium Myocardium The muscle tissue of the heart. It is composed of striated, involuntary muscle cells connected to form the contractile pump to generate blood flow. Heart: Anatomy) and impaired systolic and/or diastolic function, in the absence of other heart disorders (such as coronary artery disease Coronary artery disease Pathological processes of coronary arteries that may derive from a congenital abnormality, atherosclerotic, or non-atherosclerotic cause. Stable and Unstable Angina or hypertension Hypertension Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common disease that manifests as elevated systemic arterial pressures. Hypertension is most often asymptomatic and is found incidentally as part of a routine physical examination or during triage for an unrelated medical encounter. Hypertension). The list of causes is extensive, ranging from familial disorders to underlying diseases and infections Infections Invasion of the host organism by microorganisms or their toxins or by parasites that can cause pathological conditions or diseases. Chronic Granulomatous Disease. Symptoms include chest pain Chest Pain Chest pain is one of the most common and challenging complaints that may present in an inpatient and outpatient setting. The differential diagnosis of chest pain is large and includes cardiac, gastrointestinal, pulmonary, musculoskeletal, and psychiatric etiologies. Chest Pain, dyspnea Dyspnea Dyspnea is the subjective sensation of breathing discomfort. Dyspnea is a normal manifestation of heavy physical or psychological exertion, but also may be caused by underlying conditions (both pulmonary and extrapulmonary). Dyspnea, palpitations Palpitations Ebstein’s Anomaly, and syncope Syncope Syncope is a short-term loss of consciousness and loss of postural stability followed by spontaneous return of consciousness to the previous neurologic baseline without the need for resuscitation. The condition is caused by transient interruption of cerebral blood flow that may be benign or related to a underlying life-threatening condition. Syncope. Some individuals may be asymptomatic and/or present with sudden cardiac death Sudden cardiac death Cardiac arrest is the sudden, complete cessation of cardiac output with hemodynamic collapse. Patients present as pulseless, unresponsive, and apneic. Rhythms associated with cardiac arrest are ventricular fibrillation/tachycardia, asystole, or pulseless electrical activity. Cardiac Arrest
  • Uterine leiomyoma Leiomyoma A benign tumor derived from smooth muscle tissue, also known as a fibroid tumor. They rarely occur outside of the uterus and the gastrointestinal tract but can occur in the skin and subcutaneous tissue, probably arising from the smooth muscle of small blood vessels in these tissues. Infertility and leiomyosarcomas: Uterine leiomyomas (or uterine fibroids Fibroids A benign tumor derived from smooth muscle tissue, also known as a fibroid tumor. They rarely occur outside of the uterus and the gastrointestinal tract but can occur in the skin and subcutaneous tissue, probably arising from the smooth muscle of small blood vessels in these tissues. Infertility) are benign Benign Fibroadenoma tumors arising from smooth muscle cells in the uterine myometrium. Leiomyosarcomas are malignant tumors, arising de novo (not from fibroids Fibroids A benign tumor derived from smooth muscle tissue, also known as a fibroid tumor. They rarely occur outside of the uterus and the gastrointestinal tract but can occur in the skin and subcutaneous tissue, probably arising from the smooth muscle of small blood vessels in these tissues. Infertility). Both conditions present with abnormal bleeding, pelvic pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways, and/or bulk symptoms. Fibroids Fibroids A benign tumor derived from smooth muscle tissue, also known as a fibroid tumor. They rarely occur outside of the uterus and the gastrointestinal tract but can occur in the skin and subcutaneous tissue, probably arising from the smooth muscle of small blood vessels in these tissues. Infertility are identified as a hypoechoic Hypoechoic A structure that produces a low-amplitude echo (darker grays) Ultrasound (Sonography), well-circumscribed, round masses on pelvic ultrasound. Leiomyosarcomas are usually only diagnosed on a postoperative specimen.

References

  1. Saladin, K.S., Miller, L. (2004). Anatomy and physiology, 3rd ed. McGraw-Hill Education, pp. 408–417, 432–434.
  2. Mescher, A.L. (Ed). (2021). Junqueira’s Basic Histology Text and Atlas, 16th ed. McGraw-Hill. https://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/content.aspx?bookid=3047&sectionid=255121153
  3. Paulsen, D.F. (Ed.). (2010). Histology & Cell Biology: Examination & Board Review, 5th ed. McGraw-Hill. https://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/content.aspx?bookid=563&sectionid=42045304
  4. Darras, B. (2021). Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy: clinical features and diagnosis. UpToDate. Retrieved July 21, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/duchenne-and-becker-muscular-dystrophy-clinical-features-and-diagnosis
  5. Mohrman, D.E., Heller, L. (Eds.). (2018). Cardiovascular Physiology, 9th ed. McGraw-Hill. https://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/content.aspx?bookid=2432&sectionid=190800450

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