Muscle tissue is specialized for contraction. There are three types of muscle tissue: skeletal, cardiac, and smooth. Skeletal muscle is often called voluntary muscle because its contraction is consciously controlled. Both skeletal and cardiac muscles are striated; they have striations, or stripes, that extend across the width of the muscle cell (figs. 1.7 and 1.8). These striations are produced by a characteristic arrangement of contractile proteins, and for this reason skeletal and cardiac muscle have similar mechanisms of contraction. Smooth muscle (fig. 1.9) lacks these striations and has a different mechanism of contraction.
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This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.