Medical Terms for Muscle & Nervous Tissues

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Adrianne Baron

Adrianne has a master's degree in cancer biology and has taught high school and college biology.

This lesson is going to go over basic information about the different types of muscle tissue as well as nervous tissue. We will look at the particular functions and locations of each tissue type and also quickly touch on how these tissue types work together.


Our bodies are made up of four different types of tissues that carry out various functions. Some tissues stretch while others contract. Some tissues secrete while others absorb. Some tissues send and receive signals while others just receive signals. All the tissues of the body have specific functions that are needed in order for our bodies to function optimally. We are now going to look at two tissues that work very closely together to provide movement and keep us alive.

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  • 0:01 Tissues
  • 0:34 Muscle Tissue
  • 3:19 Nervous Tissue
  • 4:01 Lesson Summary
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Muscle Tissue

You may only think about the muscles in your arms, legs, and abs when you hear the word 'muscles'. The reason why you only think about those muscles is because those are the ones that you think about using to get around. Yet there are muscles in most organs of your body. All muscles are composed of muscle tissue and function by contracting and relaxing.

There are two classifications of muscle tissues. One classification includes the muscle tissues that you consciously control, which we call voluntary muscle tissue. The other includes the muscles that you don't think to control, which we call involuntary muscle tissue.

The only type of voluntary muscle tissue is skeletal muscle tissue. This can be found in the areas that I mentioned earlier, such as the arms, legs, abs, and back. Skeletal muscle is almost always attached to the skeleton and they contract to produce movement of the skeleton. In other words, these are the muscles that you use to move a part of your body from one place to another. There are light and dark markings that give an appearance that resembles railroad tracks that we refer to as striations.

The first type of involuntary muscle tissue is one that you are most definitely using right now. Cardiac muscle tissue is located only in the heart and is responsible for making sure our heart keeps beating. This tissue also has striations. The contraction and relaxation of cardiac muscle tissue pumps blood through our hearts and out to the body.

Now aren't you glad your heart is under involuntary control? Can you imagine the amount of trouble we would be in if we had to constantly remember to tell our hearts to beat? Some of us have a hard enough time remembering or making ourselves exercise our other muscles!

The other type of involuntary muscle tissue is smooth muscle tissue. This is found in the walls of almost all internal organs. Smooth muscle tissue carries out circular, wave-like contractions called peristalsis that help to move substances through tubules. The contraction of these muscle tissues helps with the mechanical breakdown of food in the organs of the GI tract and movement of urine through the urinary tract.

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