Biomechanics pp 355-382 | Cite as

Smooth Muscles

  • Y. C. Fung


Muscles in which striations cannot be seen are called smooth muscles. Smooth muscles of the blood vessels are called vascular smooth muscles. That of the intestine is intestinal smooth muscle. Different organs have different smooth muscles: there are sufficient differences among these muscles anatomically, functionally, mechanically, and in their responses to drugs to justify studying them one by one. But there are also common features. All muscles, skeletal, heart, and the various smooth muscles, contain actin and myosin. All rely on ATP for energy. Change in the cell membrane induces Na+ and K+ ion fluxes and action potential. The Ca++ flux furnishes the excitation-contraction coupling. A strongly coupled reaction in the cell membrane makes it behave as an active ion pump. These properties are similar in all muscles. Yet with all the similarities there are differences in their mechanical behavior. A biomechanicist should know these differences, just as a structural engineer should know the differences in the mechanical properties of lead, aluminum, and steel, while the general public may simply refer to them as metals.


Smooth Muscle Thin Filament Muscle Length Active Tension Thick Filament 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Y. C. Fung
    • 1
  1. 1.University of California, San DiegoLa JollaUSA

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