|MadSci Network: Anatomy|
Brittney : The 2 muscle types are 2 of the 3 that we as humans have in our bodies. All 3 have many anatomical as well as physiological (functional) properties that are similar. Just so we are talking about the same things, a word of clarification. There are actually 2 kinds of striated muscle; skeletal and cardiac. Striated refers to a muscle's appearance under a microscope and cardiac muscle is striated too, but is also branched. The muscle that you are referring to is probably skeletal, which is the voluntary muscle tissue that helps to move our bones etc. Skeletal muscle cells are fairly long and thin. For example, a muscle cell (fiber) in a long muscle like those in your legs or thighs are as long as the muscle itself! The fibers are not joined end to end but cover the entire length. The nuclei are pushed to the outside of each fiber and there can be more than one per cell. The internal anatomy, because of the striations is quite complex and much different than that of smooth muscle. Smooth muscle cells tend to be shorter and more "bubble" shaped. They have one central nucleus per cell and obviously, no striations. They therefore contract in a very different way than do skeletal cells. Another difference is in their mode of stimulation. Most skeletal muscle is able to be stimulated voluntarily, that is by conscious thought. Most smooth muscle is controlled by the autonomic nervous system and therefore can't react voluntarily. As you can see, due to these differences and many more that are really pretty complex, the 2 muscle tissue types are very different from one another. But they both have one thing in common - that is they both contract! and that is unique to muscle tissue. Thanks for the question. I hope that my answer helps you.
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Anatomy.