Tissue and Other Levels of Organization: Muscle Tissue and Types of Muscle Fibers

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A muscle tissue arises from the embryonic mesoderm.

  • Structure: All muscles are made up of elongated and thin cells called muscle fibers. The cytoplasm of muscle fibers is known as sarcoplasm that contains a network of membranes called sarcoplasmic reticulum. A muscle fiber may be bounded by a specialized membrane called sarcolemma. Each muscle fiber may contain one or more nuclei. The position of nuclei is variable in different types of muscle fibers. Each muscle fiber may contain numerous thin myofibrils arranged along the long axis of the fiber.

  • Function: Muscle tissue brings about movements of the body parts and helps the organism in locomotion, also responsible for the passage of food through the alimentary canal, Muscles perform important functions such as in ingesting food, in passing urine and in moving the sense organs such as eyes, nose, pinnae and in the maintenance of equilibrium and in posture and play important role in the facial expression and gesture.

Types of Muscle Fibers

Image Showing Types of Muscle Fibres
Image showing types of muscle fibres.

Striated/Skeletal muscle

Untreated/smooth muscle

Cardiac muscle


Attached to the bones, in the head, trunk and limb region and also found in the tongue and pharynx

Located in the walls of visceral organs such as intestinal, genital, urinary and respiratory organs and the walls of the blood vessels

Found in the walls of the heart


Elongated, narrow, cylindrical, and unbranched fibers with blunt ends, Myofibrils of striated muscle fiber show alternate dark and light cross bands

Spindle shaped cell, tapering at both ends, round or polygonal in cross section, sarcoplasm contains numerous fine longitudinally arranged thread like myofibrils

Elongated, cylindrical, branched. The fibers show faint but regular cross striations due to the presence of myofibrils that contain action and myosin filaments


Thin and tough membrane sarcolemma of the fiber (cell). Each muscle fiber is bounded by an elastic sheath, the sarcolemma

Thin cell membrane, muscle cell lacks definite membrane comparable to sarcolemma of striated muscle.



Multimutated that are peripheral to their fibers

Uninucleate at the center

One nucleus per cell at the center

Blood Supply




Intercalate Discs


Voluntary controlled


Involuntary controlled


Involuntary controlled


For the movement of the skeleton and muscles

For the movement of substances such as food and blood

For moving blood in the heart

Image showing structural characteristics of skeletal, smooth …

Structural Characteristics of Skeletal, Smooth, and Cardiac …

The muscle fibers have the following characteristics: Excitability (respond to stimulus), Extensibility (stretch), Contractility (contract) and Elasticity (move back to the original position).

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