Anatomy & PhysiologyScience and Technology
Development and Regeneration of Muscle Tissue
Most muscle tissue of the body arises from embryonic mesoderm. Paraxial mesodermal cells adjacent to the neural tube form blocks of cells called somites. Skeletal muscles, excluding those of the head and limbs, develop from mesodermal somites, whereas skeletal muscle in the head and limbs develop from general mesoderm. Somites give rise to myoblasts. A myoblast is a muscle-forming stem cell that migrates to different regions in the body and then fuse(s) to form a syncytium, or myotube. As a myotube is formed from many different myoblast cells, it contains many nuclei, but has a continuous cytoplasm. This is why skeletal muscle cells are multinucleate, as the nucleus of each contributing myoblast remains intact in the mature skeletal muscle cell. However, cardiac and smooth muscle cells are not multinucleate because the myoblasts that form their cells do not fuse.
Gap junctions develop in the cardiac and single-unit smooth muscle in the early stages of development. In skeletal muscles, ACh receptors are initially present along most of the surface of the myoblasts, but spinal nerve innervation causes the release of growth factors that stimulate the formation of motor end-plates and NMJs. As neurons become active, electrical signals that are sent through the muscle influence the distribution of slow and fast fibers in the muscle.
Although the number of muscle cells is set during development, satellite cells help to repair skeletal muscle cells. A satellite cell is similar to a myoblast because it is a type of stem cell; however, satellite cells are incorporated into muscle cells and facilitate the protein synthesis required for repair and growth. These cells are located outside the sarcolemma and are stimulated to grow and fuse with muscle cells by growth factors that are released by muscle fibers under certain forms of stress. Satellite cells can regenerate muscle fibers to a very limited extent, but they primarily help to repair damage in living cells. If a cell is damaged to a greater extent than can be repaired by satellite cells, the muscle fibers are replaced by scar tissue in a process called fibrosis. Because scar tissue cannot contract, muscle that has sustained significant damage loses strength and cannot produce the same amount of power or endurance as it could before being damaged.
Smooth muscle tissue can regenerate from a type of stem cell called a pericyte, which is found in some small blood vessels. Pericytes allow smooth muscle cells to regenerate and repair much more readily than skeletal and cardiac muscle tissue. Similar to skeletal muscle tissue, cardiac muscle does not regenerate to a great extent. Dead cardiac muscle tissue is replaced by scar tissue, which cannot contract. As scar tissue accumulates, the heart loses its ability to pump because of the loss of contractile power. However, some minor regeneration may occur due to stem cells found in the blood that occasionally enter cardiac tissue.
Physical Therapist As muscle cells die, they are not regenerated but instead are replaced by connective tissue and adipose tissue, which do not possess the contractile abilities of muscle tissue. Muscles atrophy when they are not used, and over time if atrophy is prolonged, muscle cells die. It is therefore important that those who are susceptible to muscle atrophy exercise to maintain muscle function and prevent the complete loss of muscle tissue. In extreme cases, when movement is not possible, electrical stimulation can be introduced to a muscle from an external source. This acts as a substitute for endogenous neural stimulation, stimulating the muscle to contract and preventing the loss of proteins that occurs with a lack of use.
Physiotherapists work with patients to maintain muscles. They are trained to target muscles susceptible to atrophy, and to prescribe and monitor exercises designed to stimulate those muscles. There are various causes of atrophy, including mechanical injury, disease, and age. After breaking a limb or undergoing surgery, muscle use is impaired and can lead to disuse atrophy. If the muscles are not exercised, this atrophy can lead to long-term muscle weakness. A stroke can also cause muscle impairment by interrupting neural stimulation to certain muscles. Without neural inputs, these muscles do not contract and thus begin to lose structural proteins. Exercising these muscles can help to restore muscle function and minimize functional impairments. Age-related muscle loss is also a target of physical therapy, as exercise can reduce the effects of age-related atrophy and improve muscle function.
The goal of a physiotherapist is to improve physical functioning and reduce functional impairments; this is achieved by understanding the cause of muscle impairment and assessing the capabilities of a patient, after which a program to enhance these capabilities is designed. Some factors that are assessed include strength, balance, and endurance, which are continually monitored as exercises are introduced to track improvements in muscle function. Physiotherapists can also instruct patients on the proper use of equipment, such as crutches, and assess whether someone has sufficient strength to use the equipment and when they can function without it.
Muscle tissue arises from embryonic mesoderm. Somites give rise to myoblasts and fuse to form a myotube. The nucleus of each contributing myoblast remains intact in the mature skeletal muscle cell, resulting in a mature, multinucleate cell. Satellite cells help to repair skeletal muscle cells. Smooth muscle tissue can regenerate from stem cells called pericytes, whereas dead cardiac muscle tissue is replaced by scar tissue. Aging causes muscle mass to decrease and be replaced by noncontractile connective tissue and adipose tissue.
From which embryonic cell type does muscle tissue develop?
- ganglion cells
- myotube cells
- myoblast cells
- satellite cells
Which cell type helps to repair injured muscle fibers?
- ganglion cells
- myotube cells
- myoblast cells
- satellite cells
Critical Thinking Questions
Why is muscle that has sustained significant damage unable to produce the same amount of power as it could before being damaged?
If the damage exceeds what can be repaired by satellite cells, the damaged tissue is replaced by scar tissue, which cannot contract.
Which muscle type(s) (skeletal, smooth, or cardiac) can regenerate new muscle cells/fibers? Explain your answer.
Smooth muscle tissue can regenerate from stem cells called pericytes, cells found in some small blood vessels. These allow smooth muscle cells to regenerate and repair much more readily than skeletal and cardiac muscle tissue.
- Anatomy & Physiology
- Unit 1: Levels of Organization
- An Introduction to the Human Body
- The Chemical Level of Organization
- The Cellular Level of Organization
- The Tissue Level of Organization
- Unit 2: Support and Movement
- The Integumentary System
- Bone Tissue and the Skeletal System
- Axial Skeleton
- The Appendicular Skeleton
- Muscle Tissue
- The Muscular System
- Interactions of Skeletal Muscles, Their Fascicle Arrangement, and Their Lever Systems
- Naming Skeletal Muscles
- Axial Muscles of the Head, Neck, and Back
- Axial Muscles of the Abdominal Wall, and Thorax
- Muscles of the Pectoral Girdle and Upper Limbs
- Appendicular Muscles of the Pelvic Girdle and Lower Limbs
- Unit 3: Regulation, Integration, and Control
- The Nervous System and Nervous Tissue
- Anatomy of the Nervous System
- The Brain and Cranial Nerves
- The Autonomic Nervous System
- The Neurological Exam
- The Endocrine System
- An Overview of the Endocrine System
- The Pituitary Gland and Hypothalamus
- The Thyroid Gland
- The Parathyroid Glands
- The Adrenal Glands
- The Pineal Gland
- Gonadal and Placental Hormones
- The Endocrine Pancreas
- Organs with Secondary Endocrine Functions
- Development and Aging of the Endocrine System
- Unit 4: Fluids and Transport
- The Cardiovascular System: Blood
- The Cardiovascular System: The Heart
- The Cardiovascular System: Blood Vessels and Circulation
- The Lymphatic and Immune System
- Anatomy of the Lymphatic and Immune Systems
- Barrier Defenses and the Innate Immune Response
- The Adaptive Immune Response: T lymphocytes and Their Functional Types
- The Adaptive Immune Response: B-lymphocytes and Antibodies
- The Immune Response against Pathogens
- Diseases Associated with Depressed or Overactive Immune Responses
- Transplantation and Cancer Immunology
- Unit 5: Energy, Maintenance, and Environmental Exchange
- The Respiratory System
- The Digestive System
- Metabolism and Nutrition
- The Urinary System
- Physical Characteristics of Urine
- Gross Anatomy of Urine Transport
- Gross Anatomy of the Kidney
- Microscopic Anatomy of the Kidney
- Physiology of Urine Formation
- Tubular Reabsorption
- Regulation of Renal Blood Flow
- Endocrine Regulation of Kidney Function
- Regulation of Fluid Volume and Composition
- The Urinary System and Homeostasis
- Fluid, Electrolyte, and Acid-Base Balance
- Unit 6: Human Development and the Continuity of Life
- The Reproductive System
- Development and Inheritance