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The Human Body

Author(s): Deanne Erdmann MS

Three Types of Human Muscle Tissue

Skeletal muscle tissue, usually found attached to the skeleton, consists of long, straight multinucleated cells with bands, or "striations." Skeletal muscle is under voluntary, conscious control.

Smooth muscle tissue is made of spindle-shaped cells containing a single nucleus. Smooth muscle surrounds hollow internal structures, including the stomach, intestines, arteries and veins. Because of the diagonal arrangement of parallel filaments of actin and myosin proteins, smooth muscle has a greater capacity than other muscle types to be stretched while retaining the ability to contract. Both smooth and cardiac muscle are considered involuntary since they generally are not under our conscious control.

Cardiac muscle tissue is found only in the heart and has several attributes in common with both skeletal and smooth muscle. It has striations or banding like skeletal muscle but is under involuntary control like smooth muscle.