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Muscular and Neural Tissues

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Muscular and Neural Tissues - Lesson Summary

Animals possess muscle and neural tissues along with epithelial and connective tissues. Muscles help in body movements as well as movements of internal organs. Each muscle consists of many long, cylindrical fibres arranged in parallel arrays called muscle fibres. These muscle fibres contract and relax in a coordinated manner and bring about body movements. There are three types of muscles, namely skeletal, smooth and cardiac.

Skeletal muscle tissues are attached to bones, such as biceps and triceps. These muscles are striated and are also referred to as voluntary muscles as they are under the control of one’s will. Muscle fibres are bundled together in a parallel manner, and several such bundles are enclosed in a tough connective tissue sheath. These muscles constitute a major percentage of body mass.
Another type of muscle tissue is smooth muscle, which has fusiform fibres. These muscles are unstriated and involuntary. They are held closely by cell junctions and bundled together in a connective tissue sheath. These muscles are found in the walls of internal organs.
 The last type of muscle tissue is the cardiac muscle, which is a contractile, involuntary muscle found only in the heart. In these cells, the cell junctions fuse the plasma membranes and hold them together. Moreover, the communication junctions, or intercalated discs at some fusion points, allow these cells to contract as a unit. These muscles produce continuous rhythmic contractility of the heart.
Animals also possess another important tissue – neural tissue. This tissue makes up the nervous system and is concerned with the responsiveness of the body. It is composed of neurons and neuroglia. Each neuron or nerve cell consists of a cell body or cyton with a prominent nucleus, hair-like extensions called dendrons and a long axon. Neuroglia cells protect and support the neurons and make up more than half the neural tissue in our body. When a neuron is stimulated, it generates an electrical impulse which travels along its plasma membrane. When this impulse reaches the synapse end of the neuron, it may stimulate or inhibit adjacent neurons and other cells, and thus responds to a stimulus. In this way, neural tissues help receive and respond to stimuli, while muscle tissues generate motile forces and help in movement.


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