Introduction

Although skeletal muscle comprises the bulk of muscle tissue in the body, smooth muscle is far more important in terms of homeostasis. Most smooth muscle is found in the walls of tubes and hollow organs. Contraction and relaxation of the smooth muscle in these tissues regulates the movement of substances within them. For example, contraction of the smooth muscle in the wall of a blood vessel narrows the diameter of the vessel and leads to a decrease in the flow of blood through it. Contraction of the smooth muscle in the wall of the stomach exerts pressure on its contents and pushes these substances forward into the small intestine. Smooth muscle functions at a subconscious level and is involuntary. It is innervated by the autonomic nervous system, which regulates its activity.

Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.

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