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Muscular System

Muscle Function

Are smooth muscle contractions the same as skeletal muscle contractions?

There are similarities, as well as differences, in comparing smooth and skeletal muscle contractions. Both types of muscles include reactions involving actin and myosin, both are triggered by membrane impulses and an increase in intracellular calcium ions, and both use energy from ATP (adenosine triphosphate). One difference between smooth and skeletal muscle contractions is that smooth muscle is slower to contract and to relax than skeletal muscle. Smooth muscle can maintain a forceful contraction longer with a set amount of ATP. In addition, smooth muscle fibers can change length without changing tautness (as when the stomach is full), while this does not occur in skeletal muscles.



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