9 Muscular Tissue

  • Muscular tissue consists of elongated cells, also called muscle fibres.
  • This tissue is responsible for movement in our body.
  • Muscles contain special proteins called contractile proteins, which contract and relax to cause movement
  • On the basis of their location, structure and function, there are following three types of muscle fibres:
    • Striated muscles
    • Smooth muscles
    • Cardiac muscles

Types Of Muscular Tissue

Skeletal or Striated or voluntary Muscles

  • Striated muscles are also known as striped, skeletal or voluntary muscles.
  • They are mostly attached to bones and help in body movement.
  • Since the entire muscle fibres show alternate dark and light stripes (striations or bands), they are called striped muscles.
  • They are attached to the bones and are responsible for body movements.
  • They are also called voluntary muscles.
  • Its nuclei are peripheral in position.
  • The cells of this tissue are long, cylindrical, unbranched and multinucleate having many nuclei.


  • Striated muscles occur in the muscles of limbs (e.g, biceps and triceps of arms), body wall, face, neck, etc.
  • Striated muscles present in tongue, pharynx, diaphragm and upper part of oesophagus.


  • Striated muscles are powerful and undergo rapid contraction. These muscles can get tired and may need rest.
  • Striated muscles provide the force for locomotion and all over voluntary movements of the body.

Smooth Muscles:

  • Smooth muscles are also known as unstriated, visceral or involuntary muscles.
  • Smooth muscles occur as bundles or sheets of elongated fusiform or spindle-shaped.
  • The cells are long with pointed ends and uninucleate (having a single nucleus).
  • They are also called unstriated muscles.


  • Smooth muscles are found I the walls of the hollow (tubular) visceral organs except that of the heart, and so are called visceral muscles.
  • They occur in the wall of alimentary canal and internal organs, ducts of glands, urogential ducts and blood vessels.
  • They are also found in the iris of the eye, in ureters and in the bronchi of the lungs.


  • Smooth muscles do not work (contract) according to our will, so they are also called involuntary muscles.
  • Smooth muscles cause the characteristic peristaltic movements in the tubes.
  • In some organs, smooth muscles contract throughout the organs to produce extrusive movements as in the urinary bladder, the gall bladder and the uterus.

Cardiac Muscles

  • Cardiac muscles show characteristics of both smooth and striated muscles.
  • Heart muscle cells are cylindrical, branched and uninucleate.
  • Cardiac muscles have stripes of light and dark bands.
  • These muscle fibres show densely stained cross-bands called intercalated impulse
  • The cardiac muscles occur in the heart.


  • Cardiac muscles contract and relax rapidly, rhythmically and tirelessly throughout a life time. They contract endlessly from early embryonic stage until death.
  • The contraction and relaxation of the heart muscles help to pump and distribute blood to various parts of body.

Comparison of smooth, skeletal and cardiac muscles

Smooth muscle Skeletal muscle Cardiac muscle
Not striated Striated Striated


Not branched Not branched Branched
Nucleus-central Nuclei-peripheral Nuclei-central
No discs No discs Intercalated discs
Involuntary Voluntary Involuntary
Slow Fast Fast
Contraction not inherent Contraction not inherent Contraction inherent

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