Muscle tissues are soft tissues that make up the different types of muscles in most animals, and give the ability of muscles to contract. It is also referred to as myopropulsive tissue. Muscle tissue is formed during embryonic development, in a process known as myogenesis. Muscle tissue contains special contractile proteins called actin and myosin which contract and relax to cause movement. Among many other muscle proteins present are two regulatory proteins, troponin and tropomyosin.
Muscle tissues vary with function and location in the body. In mammals the three types are: skeletal or striated muscle tissue; smooth muscle (non-striated) muscle; and cardiac muscle. Skeletal muscle tissue consists of elongated muscle cells called muscle fibers, and is responsible for movements of the body. Other tissues in skeletal muscle include tendons and perimysium. Smooth and cardiac muscle contract involuntarily, without conscious intervention. These muscle types may be activated both through the interaction of the central nervous system as well as by receiving innervation from peripheral plexus or endocrine (hormonal) activation. Striated or skeletal muscle only contracts voluntarily, upon the influence of the central nervous system. Reflexes are a form of non conscious activation of skeletal muscles, but nonetheless arise through activation of the central nervous system, albeit not engaging cortical structures until after the contraction has occurred.
The different muscle types vary in their response to neurotransmitters and hormones such as acetylcholine, noradrenaline, adrenaline, and nitric oxide depending on muscle type and the exact location of the muscle.