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The Three Types of Muscle Cells in the Body ~ A Letter from Dr. Apple

March 31, 2014 3 min read

3 types of muscles

Hey folks, Blaine and Tracey here, once more giving you a virtual wave!

We recently wrote Dr. Apple in Bangkok with a follow-up question about the types of muscle cells from our last visit. She was kind enough to respond to us and we wanted to share her email with you.

But before we share, we asked Paige to put together a microscope sheet that you can use with your students as you teach them about the types of muscle cells. {Simply click on the link below to download it.}

And just so you know, we did try to get the Sassafras Science team to make the microscope app available to all, but apparently, the technology is not yet available. Something about a patent pending, plus today's smartphones are not equipped with the right cameras. So sorry about that - maybe next time.

Ok, now that we have all of that out of the way, here is Dr. Apple's letter:

Dear Blaine and Tracey,

I was so pleased to receive your recent correspondence! I wanted to let you know that Lawana and her son are well. They have a little apartment downtown near the river with a shop below. She sells crafts and goods made by some of the other captured woman and children we rescued that night. It's a wonderful little store and thankfully it's doing quite well!

Ah, but enough catching up, I want to take enough time to thoroughly answer your questions about the types of muscle cells in the human body. As you said, Ms. Summer Beach and Mr. Boxton did share quite a bit with you about cells and muscles. I'm guessing that some of what I am going to share will be a repeat, but I feel I must explain it before I answer. So let's get started!

The body has three main types of muscles:

  1. Skeletal Muscle - This type of muscle is the most numerous in the body. It supports the body and helps it to move around. It is normally under voluntary control, so we know when they are going to move.
  2. Smooth Muscle - This category of muscle tissue helps to carry most of the mundane, routine functions in the body, such as digestion. It is under involuntary control, so we don't have to think about telling these muscles cells to move. In fact, most of the time we aren't even aware of this tissue's movement.
  3. Cardiac Muscle - This type of muscle helps the body to maintain its heartbeat. It also functions under involuntary control like the smooth muscle, which is a very good thing. Can you imagine if you forgot to tell your heart to beat?

As you can see each of these have their own characteristics and functions. They can also be found in certain areas of the body, such as

  • Skeletal muscles are typically found throughout the body, usually around joints and in pairs. This is because the muscle pairs work together to push and pull the different parts of the body.
  • Smooth muscles are typically found lining the walls of hollow organs, such as the stomach and intestines.
  • Cardiac muscles are only found in the heart.

So to answer your question - no cardiac muscle cells cannot be found anywhere else in the body but the heart.

I'm looking forward to your next visit and will pass your well wishes onto Lawana!


Your friend and "local expert",

Dr. Olivia Apple


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