Difference between Skeletal and Smooth Muscle Contraction

What are skeletal muscles?

Muscles usually play a vital role in body movements. The skeletal muscle tissue is closely anchored to the skeletal bones. The striated or striped skeletal muscle fibres are packed together in a typical muscle (e.g., biceps). Normally, they are arranged in a parallel fashion. Also, a sheath of connective tissue covers these bundles.

Structure of skeletal muscle

What are smooth muscles?

The smooth muscle fibres are fusiform or tapered at both ends. They do not show stripes or striations. It is usually the cell junctions that hold them together. They also have connective tissue sheaths similar to other muscles.

These smooth muscles are seen lining the walls of internal organs, such as the stomach, intestine and blood vessels. Moreover, they are involuntary (functions are not directly controlled) in nature.

Difference between Skeletal and Smooth Muscle Contraction

Skeletal Muscle Contraction

Smooth Muscle Contraction

These muscles are attached to the bones and tendons.

These muscles are found in the intestine, stomach and blood vessels.

Voluntary muscle contraction.

Involuntary muscle contraction.

Rapid contraction and relaxation.

Slow or prolonged contraction and relaxation.

Their contractile activity relies only on neural input.

Their contractile activity depends on neural, hormonal or any chemical change input.

The troponin binds with calcium to activate skeletal muscle contraction.

Calmodulin binds with calcium to create cross-bridge cycling in smooth muscle.

This muscle can perform fast actions and soon gets fatigued.

This muscle performs slow actions and rarely gets fatigued.

Frequently Asked Questions on Difference between Skeletal and Smooth Muscle Contraction


What is a myocardium?

Myocardium or cardiac muscle is a contractile tissue present only in the heart. The plasma membranes of the cells in the cardiac muscle are fused together by cell junctions. The communication junctions at the fusion point help them to contract as a unit. Thus, one cell receives a contraction signal, and it stimulates its neighbouring cell to contract.


How do muscles contract?

Muscle contraction is initiated through signals. The tension-creating sites in muscle cells are activated for it to contract. The myosin and actin filaments work together to produce movement during this contraction. This process is usually followed by muscle relaxation, where the cells return to their low tension state.

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