Muscle cells

Muscle cells

"Myofiber" redirects here. For protein structures inside cells, see Myofibril.

A myocyte (also known as a muscle cell or muscle fiber)[1] is the type of cell found in muscle tissue. Myocytes are long, tubular cells that develop from myoblasts to form muscles in a process known as myogenesis.[2] There are various specialized forms of myocytes: cardiac, skeletal, and smooth muscle cells, with various properties. Cardiac myocytes are responsible for generating the electrical impulses that control the heart rate, among other things.


The unusual microstructure of muscle cells has led cell biologists to create specialized terminology. However, each term specific to muscle cells has a counterpart that is used in the terminology applied to other types of cells:

Muscle cell Other organismal cells
sarcoplasm cytoplasm
sarcoplasmic reticulum smooth endoplasmic reticulum (SER)
sarcosome mitochondrion
sarcolemma cell membrane or plasma membrane


Main articles: Myofibril and Sarcomere

Each myocyte contains myofibrils, which are very long chains of sarcomeres, the contractile units of the cell. A cell from the biceps brachii muscle may contain 100,000 sarcomeres.[3] The myofibrils of smooth muscle cells are not arranged into sarcomeres. The sarcomeres are composed of thin and thick filaments. Thin filaments are actin filaments, whereas thick filaments consist of an arrangement of myosin proteins. The sarcomere does not contain organelles or a nucleus. Individual myocytes are surrounded by endomysium.

Myocytes are bound together by perimysium into bundles called fascicles; the bundles are then grouped together to form muscle tissue, which is enclosed in a sheath of epimysium. Muscle spindles are distributed throughout the muscles and provide sensory feedback information to the central nervous system.

Functional control

Kindlin-2 plays a role in elongation.[4]

GATA4 and GATA6 play a role in differentiation.[5]


A myoblast is a type of embryonic progenitor cell that differentiates to give rise to muscle cells.[6]

Skeletal muscle fibers are made when myoblasts fuse together; muscle fibers therefore have multiple nuclei (each nucleus originating from a single myoblast). The fusion of myoblasts is specific to skeletal muscle (e.g., biceps brachii) and not cardiac muscle or smooth muscle.

Myoblasts that do not form muscle fibers dedifferentiate back into satellite cells. These satellite cells remain adjacent to a muscle fiber, situated between the sarcolemma and the endomysium (the connective tissue investment that divides the muscle fascicles into individual fibers).

See also


External links

  • [1]