Muscle cell

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noun, plural: muscle cells

Any of the long, tubular mature contractile cells that make up the muscle tissue


The muscle tissue is one of the four fundamental types of animal tissues. The muscle tissue is comprised of specialized cells capable of contraction. These cells are called muscle cells (also called myocytes or muscle fiber). The muscle cell is also called the muscle fiber because it is long and tubular. The muscle cell develops from myoblasts through myogenesis.1

The muscle cell is comprised of myofibrils, each consisting of repeated sections of sarcomeres. The cytoplasm of the muscle cell is called sarcoplasm. The smooth endoplasmic reticulum of the muscle cell is called sarcoplasmic reticulum. The plasma membrane of the muscle cell is termed sarcolemma.

The three types of muscle cells are skeletal myocytes, smooth myocytes, and cardiac myocytes. The skeletal myocytes (or skeletal muscle fibers) are large, multinucleate, striated cells that form the skeletal muscles. The myofibrils in skeletal myocytes are enclosed within and attached to the sarcolemma. The smooth myocytes are muscle cells that are non-striated. They are elongated and spindle-shaped. The cardiac myocytes are muscle cells that contain one or sometimes two nuclei and myofibrils, and are separated from one another by an intercalated disk. Similar to skeletal myocytes, the cardiac myoctes are striated. However, the latter branch, forming an intercalating network.


  • myocyte
  • muscle fiber

See also:

1 US National Library of Medicine. (2011). Myocytes. Retrieved from [[1]]