MadSci Network: Anatomy

Re: How are striated and smooth muscles alike?

Date: Thu Feb 18 18:23:55 1999
Posted By: Jim Bridger, Faculty, Biology, Prince Georges Community College
Area of science: Anatomy
ID: 917149111.An

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 
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.

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