2-6-10. 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
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
Smooth muscle tissue can regenerate from a type of stem cell called a
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?
Which cell type helps to repair injured muscle fibers?
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.