The function of human body is not possible without muscles. Along with skeletal system, muscles allow different movements in the body. There are more than 600 muscles in the body that give shape and enable body movement. Based on the functions, muscles are divided into three main types: Voluntary muscle, involuntary muscle and cardiac muscle.
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Skeletal muscle or voluntary muscles:
These muscles of the body are striated and voluntary and can be consciously controlled. They are multinucleated and non-branched. Skeletal muscles are involved in all the physical actions of the body like jumping, running, walking, writing etc. Skeletal muscles are named based on their location, shape, size and function. Some of the major skeletal muscles along with their functions are described below:
- Deltoid: Allows sideways raising of arms.
- Biceps: Helps in bending of arm at the elbow point.
- Abdominals: Allows truck flexion allowing forward bending.
- Quadriceps: Helps in strengthening of leg.
- Pectorals: Helps in raising arms at the shoulder allowing it to draw across the chest.
- Latissimus dorsi: Helps to pull back the arm and allows it to draw behind the back.
- Trapezius: Helps in movement of head backward and sideward. Also allows rotation of the shoulder.
- Triceps: Helps in strengthening of arm at the elbows.
- Gluteals: Helps in sideways bending of leg.
- Hamstrings: Allows bending of leg at the knee.
- Gastrocnemius: Allows standing on tip toes.
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Skeletal muscles fibers also called myofibers are long and constricted. Most of these muscle fibers have cylindrical bundle of contractile protein called myofibrils. The alternating light and dark band in the muscle fiber are due to the length and thickness of protein filament in the myofibrils. The cytoplasm of skeletal muscle fiber is named sarcoplasm that is enclosed by a bilayer membrane of lipid called sarcolemma. At the surface, skeletal muscle fibers are striated. Moreover due to the high protein contain skeletal muscle fibers are also multinuclear.
Contrary to voluntary muscles, these muscles work involuntarily and are not under conscious control of our brain. They are non- striated and tapered with single nucleus. Due to the smooth appearance of these muscles, they are also called smooth muscles. The tissue of involuntary muscles look like a telephone cable. Each tissue is made of muscle fiber and each fiber is constructed from even smaller bands named myofibrils that have interlocked strand of muscle protein. The muscles of stomach, intestine, blood vessels etc. are involuntary in nature.
These are the muscles of heart that are also involuntary in nature. These muscles are striated and branched with single nucleus. Along with nerves, chemicals, blood vessels etc., these muscles allows rhythmic expansion and contraction of heart.
Cardiac muscle tissue is formed by the combination of cells and fibers. Each cardiac muscle has single nucleus and is striated having light and dark bands. Between the dark bands are present thin filaments that are made of actin protein allowing light to pass through it. Cardiac muscles cells are branched establishing the contact with three or more cardiac muscle cells. The finger like extension at the end of each cardiac cells is called intercalated disk that forms tight junctions between the cells in order to allow quick flow of electrochemical signal and resist the pressure of pumping action. Image reference: http://anatdelosanimalesdomesticos.blogspot.in/2015/02/miologia_12.html
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