Smooth muscle

Smooth muscles, otherwise known as unstriated or plain muscles, form the muscular walls of the viscera and blood vessels. They also occur in the iris, ciliary body and nictitating membrane in the eye, in the trachea, bronchi and bronchioles of the lungs, and are the small muscles which erect the hairs. Individual smooth muscle cells are uninucleate, and are much smaller than the multinucleate fibres of skeletal muscles. They are usually about 4 fxm in diameter and up to 400 fxm long. Adjacent cells are connected at regions where the i-1

Fig. 11.7. Simultaneous records of tension (upper trace) and electrical activity in guinea-pig taenia coli. From Bulbring (1979).

Fig. 11.7. Simultaneous records of tension (upper trace) and electrical activity in guinea-pig taenia coli. From Bulbring (1979).

opposing cell membranes are brought close together to form gap junctions; it seems very likely that current can flow from one cell to another at these sites.

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