In Chapters 6 and 7, the discussion was concerned with skeletal muscle. We now turn to smooth muscle, which is composed of far smaller fibers— usually 1 to 5 micrometers in diameter and only 20 to 500 micrometers in length. In contrast, skeletal muscle fibers are as much as 30 times greater in diameter and hundreds of times as long. Many of the same principles of contraction apply to smooth muscle as to skeletal muscle. Most important, essentially the same attractive forces between myosin and actin filaments cause contraction in smooth muscle as in skeletal muscle, but the internal physical arrangement of smooth muscle fibers is very different.
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This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.