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Muscle Tissue

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Muscle Tissue

Heart Muscle Cell

Dennis Kunkel
Muscle tissue is made of "excitable" cells that are capable of contraction. Of all of the different tissue types, muscle tissue is the most abundant in most animals.

Muscle Tissue Types

Muscle tissue contains numerous microfilaments composed of actin and myosin, which are contractile proteins.

There are three major types of muscle tissue:
  • Cardiac Muscle

    Cardiac muscle is so named because it is found in the heart. Cells are joined to one another by intercalated discs which allow the synchronization of the heart beat. Cardiac muscle is branched, striated muscle.

  • Skeletal Muscle

    Skeletal muscle, which is attached to bones by tendons, is associated with the body's voluntary movements. Skeletal muscle is striated muscle. Unlike cardiac muscle, the cells are not branched.

  • Visceral (Smooth) Muscle

    Visceral muscle, is found in various parts of the body such as the arteries, the bladder, the digestive tract, as well as in many other organs.

    Visceral muscle is also called smooth muscle because it doesn't have cross striations. Visceral muscle contracts slower than skeletal muscle, but the contraction can be sustained over a longer period of time.

Interesting Tidbits About Muscle Tissue

Interestingly, adults have a certain number of muscle cells. Through exercise, such as weight lifting, the cells enlarge but the overall number of cells does not increase.

Skeletal muscles are voluntary muscles because we have control over their contraction. Visceral muscles are involuntary since, for the most part, they are not consciously controlled.

Animal Tissue Types

To learn more about animal tissues, visit:

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