Walker, Warren F., Jr. Department of Biology, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio.
Noback, Charles R. Department of Anatomy, Columbia University, New York, New York.
Last reviewed:January 2019
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- Comparative anatomy
- Axial musculature
- Appendicular musculature
- Integumentary musculature
- Muscle mechanics
- Embryology and histogenesis
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The set of anatomical structures (muscle cells, contractile elements, and associated connective tissues) that are responsible for body movements in vertebrates. The muscular system (Fig. 1) is necessary for movements of the vertebrate body. Specifically, the muscular system consists of muscle cells, the contractile elements with the specialized property of exerting tension during contraction, and associated connective tissues. The three morphologic types of muscles are voluntary muscle, involuntary muscle, and cardiac muscle. The voluntary, striated, or skeletal muscles are involved with general posture and movements of the head, body, and limbs. The involuntary, nonstriated, or smooth muscles are the muscles of the walls of hollow organs of the digestive, circulatory, respiratory, and reproductive systems, and other visceral structures. Cardiac muscle is the intrinsic muscle tissue of the heart. See also: Circulation; Digestive system; Heart (vertebrate); Muscle; Muscle development and regeneration; Muscular system disorders; Reproductive system; Respiratory system
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