Skeletal muscles (commonly called Muscles) are organs of the vertebrate muscular system that are mostly attached by tendons to bones of the skeleton. The muscle cells of skeletal muscles are much longer than in the other types of muscle tissue, and are often known as muscle fibers. The muscle tissue of a skeletal muscle is striated – having a striped appearance due to the arrangement of the sarcomeres.
|Synonyms||Skeletal striated muscle / Striated voluntary muscle|
Skeletal muscles are voluntary muscles under the control of the somatic nervous system. The other types of muscle are cardiac muscle which is also striated and smooth muscle which is non-striated; both of these types of muscle tissue are classified as involuntary, or, under the control of the autonomic nervous system.
A skeletal muscle contains multiple fascicles – bundles of muscle fibers. Each individual fiber, and each muscle is surrounded by a type of connective tissue layer of fascia. Muscle fibers are formed from the fusion of developmental myoblasts in a process known as myogenesis resulting in long multinucleated cells. In these cells the nuclei termed myonuclei are located along the inside of the cell membrane. Muscle fibers also have multiple mitochondria to meet energy needs.
Muscle fibers are in turn composed of myofibrils. The myofibrils are composed of actin and myosin filaments called myofilaments, repeated in units called sarcomeres, which are the basic functional, contractile units of the muscle fiber necessary for muscle contraction. Muscles are predominantly powered by the oxidation of fats and carbohydrates, but anaerobic chemical reactions are also used, particularly by fast twitch fibers. These chemical reactions produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP) molecules that are used to power the movement of the myosin heads.