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Dr.

Niranjan Murthy H L
Asst. Prof., Dept. of Physiology
Sree Siddhartha Medical College & Hospital, Tumkur
• Plain muscle-- non-striated
• Involuntary
• Visceral
• Autonomic
TYPES
1) Multi-unit smooth muscle:-
 discrete smooth muscle fibers.
 innervated by single nerve ending.
 predominantly neural regulation.
 iris, ciliary muscle, etc
2) Unitary smooth muscle:-
 aggregated into sheets or bundles.
 syncytial smooth muscle.
 gap junctions.
 walls of viscera & blood vessels.
ULTRASTRUCTURE
• Made up of actin and myosin
filaments
• Actin, 5-10times that of
myosin
• Actin filaments are attached
to dense bodies
• Myosin filaments have
“sidepolar” cross-bridges-
bridges on either sides hinge
in opposite directions
NMJ of smooth muscle
• Varicosities- enlargements devoid of schwann
cells and containing vesicles
• Noradrenergic neurons have up to 20,000
varicosities per neuron each 5μm apart
• One neuron innervate many effector cells
• Diffuse junctions and contact junctions
• Synapse en passant
• Neurotransmitters- Ach, Noradrenaline,etc
• Excitatory or inhibitory junctional potentials-
depends on the type of receptor
• Cholinergic as well as noradrenergic fibers
POTENTIALS IN SMOOTH MUSCLE
Resting membrane potential: -50 to -60mv
AP in unitary smooth muscle:-
• Spike potentials-
 similar to that of skeletal muscle
 duration of 10-50ms
• AP with plateau-
 repolarization is delayed
 duration of several 100 to a 1000ms
 prolonged contraction seen in uterine &
certain vascular smooth muscle
Role of Ca2+ ions
Responsible for AP
Slower and longer opening of Ca2+ channels
Same Ca2+ is responsible for contraction

Source of Ca2+ ions


1. Through cell membrane- mostly
from ecf
2. Sarcoplasmic reticulum- separate
sarcoplasmic tubules lie near cell
membrane.
caveoli are small invaginations of cell
membrane-represent rudimentary
analogue of t-tubules
Spontaneous generation of AP
• Often associated with slow waves
• Seen in GIT smooth muscles
• Slow waves are caused due to waxing and
waning of Na+ -K+ pump
• Slow waves are also called pacemaker waves
Junctional potential:-
• Depolarization of multi-unit smooth muscle
without AP generation
• Electrotonic conduction
• Fibers are too small to generate AP
MECHANISM OF SM CONTRACTION

• Smooth muscle doesn’t contain troponin


• Calmodulin acts as regulatory protein
• Myosin kinase and myosin phosphatase
play a major role
Influx of Ca2+ from ECF

4 Ca2+ ions bind to calmodulin

Ca2+-calmodulin complex
Activates myosin kinase

Myosin kinase with ATP phosphorylates


Regulatory chain of myosin head

Myosin head develops


Binding capacity

Cycle of attachment &


Detachment- contraction
reduced Ca2+ levels

Activation of myosin phosphatase

Dephosphorylation of
Regulatory light chain

Attachment-detachment
Cycle stops

Relaxation
COMPARISON OF SMOOTH MUSCLE &
SKELETAL MUSCLE CONTRACTION
• Cycling of cross-bridges is slower in smooth
muscle. This is due to far lesser ATPase activity.
• 1/10 to 1/300 times less energy is required for
SM to sustain same tension of contraction as in
skeletal muscles.
• Slow onset of contraction & relaxation. Total
contraction time of 1-3sec which is 30 times as
long as that of skeletal muscle
• Force of contraction is 4-6kg/cm2 in SM and 3-
4kg/cm2 in skeletal muscle.
Latch mechanism:-
After development of full contraction, the
degree of activation can be reduced to far
less than initial levels with maintenance of
full force of contraction.
It can maintain prolonged tonic contractions
with little energy.
Stress-relaxation:-
When visceral unitary smooth muscle is stretched,
the tension increases initially. But, within few
seconds, tension returns to original level.
Closely related to latch phenomenon- when
muscle is stretched, latch phenomenon resists.
Myosin head detaches and attach further along
actin filament. Tension comes back to normal as
the number of cross-bridges involved will be
almost the same.
Reverse stress-relaxation
FACTORS AFFECTING SM
CONTRACTION WITHOUT APS
1. Local tissue factors- oxygen, carbon
dioxide, pH
2. Hormones- catecholamines, acetyl
choline, angiotensin, vasopressin,
serotonin, histamine
PROPERTIES OF SMOOTH MUSCLE

1. Excitability
2. Conductivity
3. Contractility
4. Tonicity
5. Plasticity