Q:

How does the structure of a muscle cell type relate to its function?

A:

Quick Answer

According to About.com Biology section, there are three different types of muscle cells, and each has a different structure related to its function. Cardiac muscles are designed to contract together; skeletal-muscle cells have ordered striations so that they can contract farther than other muscle cells to move the body; and, visceral-muscle cells are designed to contract slower and remain contracted for long periods of time.

Know More
How does the structure of a muscle cell type relate to its function?
Credit: De Agostini Picture Library De Agostini Picture Library Getty Images

Full Answer

Cardiac-muscle cells have striations, or stripes, because they are composed of two different types of fibers in bands, and they are closely interconnected with structures called intercalated discs. This interconnection allows the cardiac-muscle cells to contract easily, in unison; that ability keeps the heartbeat synchronized.

Skeletal muscles are also striated with long lines composed of thick and thin fibers. When skeletal muscle contracts, the two types of fibers slide past each other to significantly shorten the muscle. This allows for both the large movements of body parts and the tight control of small muscles, such as those around the eyes or in the fingers.

Visceral muscles work to cause involuntary muscle action in the digestive system, arteries, bladder and female reproductive system, according to About.com. They are also called smooth muscles because they are not striated like the cardiac and skeletal muscles are. Although the visceral muscles contain both thick and thin fibers, the fibers are not arranged in a clear pattern. They are also much smaller than skeletal muscle cells. When the cells contract, they contract a shorter distance but in every direction due to their disorganization. This allows for the steady contractions that are necessary to keep involuntary systems working smoothly.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    What is the function of a muscle cell?

    A:

    The two main functions of a muscle cell are to produce movement through force and to maintain posture, according to Science360. They are frequently called muscle fibers because the length of a muscle cell is greater than the width.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the main function of a muscle cell?

    A:

    The main function of muscle cells is to produce contractions of the muscle. Impulses are sent through the nervous system along the muscle cells and cause the muscle to contract.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the structure of a spirogyra cell?

    A:

    Spirogyra cells contain chloroplasts, a large vacuole, a cell nucleus, cytoplasmic strands holding the nucleus in place and two cell walls. They are simple plants, with no specialized cells for absorbing water, transporting nutrients or reproduction.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the basic structure of a cell membrane?

    A:

    Cell membranes are, at their most basic, composed of a phospholipid bilayer with some surface proteins embedded around the surface. Plasma membranes contain phospholipids, cholesterol, proteins and carbohydrates that are arrayed in regular, repeating rows to form a highly plastic surface for the cell.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore