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    a muscle fiber is what level of organization in the body?

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    Structure of Skeletal Muscle

    Structure of Skeletal Muscle

    A whole skeletal muscle is considered an organ of the muscular system. Each organ or muscle consists of skeletal muscle tissue, connective tissue, nerve tissue, and blood or vascular tissue.

    Skeletal muscles vary considerably in size, shape, and arrangement of fibers. They range from extremely tiny strands such as the stapedium muscle of the middle ear to large masses such as the muscles of the thigh. Some skeletal muscles are broad in shape and some narrow. In some muscles the fibers are parallel to the long axis of the muscle; in some they converge to a narrow attachment; and in some they are oblique.

    Each skeletal muscle fiber is a single cylindrical muscle cell. An individual skeletal muscle may be made up of hundreds, or even thousands, of muscle fibers bundled together and wrapped in a connective tissue covering. Each muscle is surrounded by a connective tissue sheath called the epimysium. Fascia, connective tissue outside the epimysium, surrounds and separates the muscles. Portions of the epimysium project inward to divide the muscle into compartments. Each compartment contains a bundle of muscle fibers. Each bundle of muscle fiber is called a fasciculus and is surrounded by a layer of connective tissue called the perimysium. Within the fasciculus, each individual muscle cell, called a muscle fiber, is surrounded by connective tissue called the endomysium.

    Skeletal muscle cells (fibers), like other body cells, are soft and fragile. The connective tissue covering furnish support and protection for the delicate cells and allow them to withstand the forces of contraction. The coverings also provide pathways for the passage of blood vessels and nerves.

    Commonly, the epimysium, perimysium, and endomysium extend beyond the fleshy part of the muscle, the belly or gaster, to form a thick ropelike tendon or a broad, flat sheet-like aponeurosis. The tendon and aponeurosis form indirect attachments from muscles to the periosteum of bones or to the connective tissue of other muscles. Typically a muscle spans a joint and is attached to bones by tendons at both ends. One of the bones remains relatively fixed or stable while the other end moves as a result of muscle contraction.

    Skeletal muscles have an abundant supply of blood vessels and nerves. This is directly related to the primary function of skeletal muscle, contraction. Before a skeletal muscle fiber can contract, it has to receive an impulse from a nerve cell. Generally, an artery and at least one vein accompany each nerve that penetrates the epimysium of a skeletal muscle. Branches of the nerve and blood vessels follow the connective tissue components of the muscle of a nerve cell and with one or more minute blood vessels called capillaries.

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    Source : training.seer.cancer.gov

    Skeletal Muscle – Anatomy and Physiology

    SKELETAL MUSCLE

    Learning Objectives

    By the end of this section, you will be able to:

    Describe the layers of connective tissues packaging skeletal muscle

    Explain how muscles work with tendons to move the body

    Identify areas of the skeletal muscle fibers

    Describe excitation-contraction coupling

    The best-known feature of skeletal muscle is its ability to contract and cause movement. Skeletal muscles act not only to produce movement but also to stop movement, such as resisting gravity to maintain posture. Small, constant adjustments of the skeletal muscles are needed to hold a body upright or balanced in any position. Muscles also prevent excess movement of the bones and joints, maintaining skeletal stability and preventing skeletal structure damage or deformation. Joints can become misaligned or dislocated entirely by pulling on the associated bones; muscles work to keep joints stable. Skeletal muscles are located throughout the body at the openings of internal tracts to control the movement of various substances. These muscles allow functions, such as swallowing, urination, and defecation, to be under voluntary control. Skeletal muscles also protect internal organs (particularly abdominal and pelvic organs) by acting as an external barrier or shield to external trauma and by supporting the weight of the organs.

    Skeletal muscles contribute to the maintenance of homeostasis in the body by generating heat. Muscle contraction requires energy, and when ATP is broken down, heat is produced. This heat is very noticeable during exercise, when sustained muscle movement causes body temperature to rise, and in cases of extreme cold, when shivering produces random skeletal muscle contractions to generate heat.

    Each skeletal muscle is an organ that consists of various integrated tissues. These tissues include the skeletal muscle fibers, blood vessels, nerve fibers, and connective tissue. Each skeletal muscle has three layers of connective tissue (called “mysia”) that enclose it and provide structure to the muscle as a whole, and also compartmentalize the muscle fibers within the muscle ((Figure)). Each muscle is wrapped in a sheath of dense, irregular connective tissue called the epimysium, which allows a muscle to contract and move powerfully while maintaining its structural integrity. The epimysium also separates muscle from other tissues and organs in the area, allowing the muscle to move independently.

    The Three Connective Tissue Layers

    Bundles of muscle fibers, called fascicles, are covered by the perimysium. Muscle fibers are covered by the endomysium.

    Inside each skeletal muscle, muscle fibers are organized into individual bundles, each called a fascicle, by a middle layer of connective tissue called the perimysium. This fascicular organization is common in muscles of the limbs; it allows the nervous system to trigger a specific movement of a muscle by activating a subset of muscle fibers within a bundle, or fascicle of the muscle. Inside each fascicle, each muscle fiber is encased in a thin connective tissue layer of collagen and reticular fibers called the endomysium. The endomysium contains the extracellular fluid and nutrients to support the muscle fiber. These nutrients are supplied via blood to the muscle tissue.

    In skeletal muscles that work with tendons to pull on bones, the collagen in the three tissue layers (the mysia) intertwines with the collagen of a tendon. At the other end of the tendon, it fuses with the periosteum coating the bone. The tension created by contraction of the muscle fibers is then transferred though the mysia, to the tendon, and then to the periosteum to pull on the bone for movement of the skeleton. In other places, the mysia may fuse with a broad, tendon-like sheet called an aponeurosis, or to fascia, the connective tissue between skin and bones. The broad sheet of connective tissue in the lower back that the latissimus dorsi muscles (the “lats”) fuse into is an example of an aponeurosis.

    Every skeletal muscle is also richly supplied by blood vessels for nourishment, oxygen delivery, and waste removal. In addition, every muscle fiber in a skeletal muscle is supplied by the axon branch of a somatic motor neuron, which signals the fiber to contract. Unlike cardiac and smooth muscle, the only way to functionally contract a skeletal muscle is through signaling from the nervous system.

    Skeletal Muscle Fibers

    Because skeletal muscle cells are long and cylindrical, they are commonly referred to as muscle fibers. Skeletal muscle fibers can be quite large for human cells, with diameters up to 100 μm and lengths up to 30 cm (11.8 in) in the Sartorius of the upper leg. During early development, embryonic myoblasts, each with its own nucleus, fuse with up to hundreds of other myoblasts to form the multinucleated skeletal muscle fibers. Multiple nuclei mean multiple copies of genes, permitting the production of the large amounts of proteins and enzymes needed for muscle contraction.

    Some other terminology associated with muscle fibers is rooted in the Greek sarco, which means “flesh.” The plasma membrane of muscle fibers is called the sarcolemma, the cytoplasm is referred to as sarcoplasm, and the specialized smooth endoplasmic reticulum, which stores, releases, and retrieves calcium ions (Ca++) is called the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) ((Figure)). As will soon be described, the functional unit of a skeletal muscle fiber is the sarcomere, a highly organized arrangement of the contractile myofilaments actin (thin filament) and myosin (thick filament), along with other support proteins.

    Source : opentextbc.ca

    10.2 Skeletal Muscle – Anatomy & Physiology

    10.2 SKELETAL MUSCLE

    Learning Objectives

    Describe the structure and function of skeletal muscle fibers

    By the end of this section, you will be able to:

    Describe the connective tissue layers surrounding skeletal muscle

    Define a muscle fiber, myofibril, and sarcomere

    List the major sarcomeric proteins involved with contraction

    Identify the regions of the sarcomere and whether they change during contraction

    Explain the sliding filament process of muscle contraction

    Each skeletal muscle is an organ that consists of various integrated tissues. These tissues include the skeletal muscle fibers, blood vessels, nerve fibers, and connective tissue. Each skeletal muscle has three layers of connective tissue that enclose it, provide structure to the muscle, and compartmentalize the muscle fibers within the muscle (Figure 10.2.1). Each muscle is wrapped in a sheath of dense, irregular connective tissue called the epimysium, which allows a muscle to contract and move powerfully while maintaining its structural integrity. The epimysium also separates muscle from other tissues and organs in the area, allowing the muscle to move independently.

    Figure 10.2.1 – The Three Connective Tissue Layers: Bundles of muscle fibers, called fascicles, are covered by the perimysium. Muscle fibers are covered by the endomysium.

    Inside each skeletal muscle, muscle fibers are organized into bundles, called fascicles, surrounded by a middle layer of connective tissue called the perimysium. This fascicular organization is common in muscles of the limbs; it allows the nervous system to trigger a specific movement of a muscle by activating a subset of muscle fibers within a fascicle of the muscle. Inside each fascicle, each muscle fiber is encased in a thin connective tissue layer of collagen and reticular fibers called the endomysium. The endomysium surrounds the extracellular matrix of the cells and plays a role in transferring force produced by the muscle fibers to the tendons.

    In skeletal muscles that work with tendons to pull on bones, the collagen in the three connective tissue layers intertwines with the collagen of a tendon. At the other end of the tendon, it fuses with the periosteum coating the bone. The tension created by contraction of the muscle fibers is then transferred though the connective tissue layers, to the tendon, and then to the periosteum to pull on the bone for movement of the skeleton. In other places, the mysia may fuse with a broad, tendon-like sheet called an aponeurosis, or to fascia, the connective tissue between skin and bones. The broad sheet of connective tissue in the lower back that the latissimus dorsi muscles (the “lats”) fuse into is an example of an aponeurosis.

    Every skeletal muscle is also richly supplied by blood vessels for nourishment, oxygen delivery, and waste removal. In addition, every muscle fiber in a skeletal muscle is supplied by the axon branch of a somatic motor neuron, which signals the fiber to contract. Unlike cardiac and smooth muscle, the only way to functionally contract a skeletal muscle is through signaling from the nervous system.

    SKELETAL MUSCLE FIBERS

    Because skeletal muscle cells are long and cylindrical, they are commonly referred to as muscle fibers (or myofibers). Skeletal muscle fibers can be quite large compared to other cells, with diameters up to 100 μm and lengths up to 30 cm (11.8 in) in the Sartorius of the upper leg. Having many nuclei allows for production of the large amounts of proteins and enzymes needed for maintaining normal function of these large protein dense cells.  In addition to nuclei, skeletal muscle fibers also contain cellular organelles found in other cells, such as mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum.  Howver, some of these structures are specialized in muscle fibers.  The specialized smooth endoplasmic reticulum, called the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR), stores, releases, and retrieves calcium ions (Ca++).

    The plasma membrane of muscle fibers is called the sarcolemma (from the Greek sarco, which means “flesh”) and the cytoplasm is referred to as sarcoplasm (Figure 10.2.2). Within a muscle fiber, proteins are organized into structures called myofibrils that run the length of the cell and contain sarcomeres connected in series. Because myofibrils are only approximately 1.2 μm in diameter, hundreds to thousands (each with thousands of sarcomeres) can be found inside one muscle fiber.  The sarcomere is the smallest functional unit of a skeletal muscle fiber and is a highly organized arrangement of contractile, regulatory, and structural proteins. It is the shortening of these individual sarcomeres that lead to the contraction of individual skeletal muscle fibers (and ultimately the whole muscle).

    Figure 10.2.2 – Muscle Fiber: A skeletal muscle fiber is surrounded by a plasma membrane called the sarcolemma, which contains sarcoplasm, the cytoplasm of muscle cells. A muscle fiber is composed of many myofibrils, which contain sarcomeres with light and dark regions that give the cell its striated appearance.

    Source : open.oregonstate.education

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