What is the difference between skeletal, visceral and cardiac muscles?

What is the difference between skeletal, visceral and cardiac muscles?

SKELETAL muscles:

  1. Very commonly known as Muscles, these are organs from the muscular system for vertebrates that are attached to bones of the skeletal system by tendons.
  2. The muscle cells here are called muscle fibres and they are typically longer than any other muscle cells or tissues.
  3. These muscles have a typical appearance of being stripped and this is due to the fact that it has sarcomeres. Sarcomeres are nothing but contractile units for these fibres. Sarcomeres are made of protein elements which is responsible for muscle contraction.
  4. The muscle fibres are made up of myofibrils and they are made of actin and myosin which are called myofilaments. These are in repeated units in the sarcomeres and their main function is for muscle contraction.
  5. What happens to the muscles is that they are powered by some oxidation process of fats and carbohydrates and also by some chemical reactions. These chemical reactions are known to produce the energy powerhouse muscles called ATP- Adenosine Triphosphate. These are the powerhouse cells for the muscle tissues.
  6. These skeletal muscles are voluntary in function and they are controlled by the nervous system. There are other types of muscles called the cardiac muscles and these are also stripped in appearance and both of them are voluntary in function. They are both controlled by the nervous system.
  7. The skeletal muscles are all bound by some muscle fibres. Each of these fibres and the muscles that surround it by some connective tissue which is a layer of fascia. How are they formed- they are formed by the combining or binding of some myoblasts tissues during a process called the myogenesis. These results in some nucleus cells which are counted as many. There is a nuclei called the myonuclei and these are placed in the inside of the cell membrane. These have many mitochondria to meet the energy needs.

CARDIAC muscles:

  1. These are known as heart muscles and one of the three vertebrate muscles which is along with Skeletal and smooth muscles. IT is not voluntary but has striations on it. These as suggested by the name is the main component of the heart wall tissues. This is a thick layer which is between the outer layer of the heart wall and the inner wall tissues. That is between the pericardium and the endocardium. There is also blood supplied by the circulation.
  2. These are made up of cardiac muscles and by are joined by some discs and thus have collagen fibres and also other substances in the extracellular matrix.
  3. Cardiac muscles are known to have the function of contraction similar to skeletal muscles and there are some differences. There is electric impulse going through the cardiac muscles due to action potential and they are known to release some calcium from the inner store ( the reticulum). This rise in calcium cells causes the filaments to slide each other in a process called the coupling. There are some cardiac diseases which is caused by less blood supply and thus can form infarction.


  1. These are involuntary, not stripped and non-sarcomere muscles. They have two groups- Single unit and multi unit. In the first instance that is single unit there are some sheets of smooth muscles which contract.
  2. Smooth muscles are controlled by some neural elements. These are also cell to cell communication and some activators and inhibitors produced locally. Thus in single unit and multi unit there are some cell coordination.
  3. These smooth muscles are found in walls of the organs, like stomach,intestine, uterus etc. Also in the blood passages and lymph vessels and also the respiratory tracts and reproductive systems. In the eyes the muscles which are nothing but smooth muscles usually are responsible for dilation and contraction of the iris and lens shape. In the skin however the smooth muscle cells cause hair to stand upright due to the cold temperature and other emotions like fear.
  4. These are mostly single variety and they function like either they contract or expand in whole. There are smooth muscles together in the trachea and large arteries in the body. They are most common as single unit and they line the blood vessel and digestive tract.
  5. How they differ from cardiac and skeletal is that they are different in structure and function and also in terms of contractions and other things. They have great elasticity and larger curve density other than the stripped muscles. They can contract and stretch in organs like intestines and urinary bladder.
  6. These muscles also have three types of composite cell types called SMC-smooth muscle cells, interstitial cells and platelet growth cells and these together work together.

Learn More: Locomotion and Movement From Class 11 Biology

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