BI 231 - Human Physiology and Anatomy
Muscle Contraction and Muscle Types Study Guide

Compiled by Pat Bowne, Sherry Dollhopf,and Justin LaManna, 2007-11


Muscle is a special kind of postsynaptic cell, specialized to contract in response to an electric or chemical stimulus. How does it do that? This module deals with how the skeletal muscle fires and stops firing, how the proteins inside it are made to move by the muscle’s firing, and how different types of muscle are able to perform different functions.

Before class, make sure you:

Can explain action potential and cell firing

Can sketch and explain the structure and function of a nicotinic synapse

Can sketch or list the steps in a second messenger pathway

Tutorials and reading assignment:

REVIEW muscle contraction using the online tutorial at :

Chapter 12, pages 360- 374, 378-384, 392-397

What you should know for the assessment:

--DIAGRAM and IDENTIFY the parts of a skeletal muscle cell and their functions

--DESCRIBE and DIAGRAM the sliding-filament model of skeletal muscle contraction

--EXPLAIN what makes the filaments begin to slide and stop sliding

--EXPLAIN how acetylcholine from a motor nerve can make the muscle filaments begin to slide

--RELATE different kinds of skeletal muscle fibers (red, white, mixed) to their functions

--EXPLAIN how smooth and cardiac muscles differ from skeletal and how that helps them perform their functions

Muscle terms to know

Practice Questions


Explain the role of Calcium in skeletal muscle contraction. What would happen to contraction if a muscle:

a. Did not have any calcium stored in the sarcoplasmic reticulum

b. Could not move calcium back into the sarcoplasmic reticulum from the cytoplasm

ANSWER questions 7-14, 17 and 18 on pages 402-403

TAKE the online quiz about muscle contraction:

Practice question with example answer

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