MUSCLE TISSUE is the only tissue in the body that is specialised for contraction (shortening). The body contains three types of muscle tissue: skeletal, smooth, and cardiac. Each type of muscle tissue exhibits unique structural and functional characteristics. Contraction of skeletal muscle tissue produces locomotion, movement of body parts, and movement of the skin, as in making facial expressions. Cardiac muscle tissue produces the driving force responsible for pumping blood through the cardiovascular system. Smooth muscle tissue is responsible for various internal functions, such as controlling the movement of blood through blood vessels and air through respiratory passageways. It is also directly involved in vision and moving contents through hollow internal organs.


Types of Muscle Tissue

Characteristic Skeletal Smooth Cardiac
Striations Present Absent Present
Nucleus Many peripherally located nuclei Single centrally located nucleus Usually a single centrally located nucleus
Cells Long and parallel, called fibers Short; tapered ends; parallel Short and branching; intercalated discs join cells end to end to form network
Neural control Voluntary Involuntary Involuntary
Contractions Fast, variable fatigability; slow, resistant to fatigue Slow; resistant to fatigue Rhythmic; resistant to fatigue
Location Attached to bones, dermis, ligaments and other muscles Walls of hollow visceral organs and blood and lymphatic vessels, skin, and inside eyes Wall of the heart