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Striated muscles are....

Cardiac and skeletal


Non-striated muscle is...

Smooth muscle


Voluntary muscle is?

Skeletal muscle


Involuntary muscle is?

Smooth and cardiac


What is the primary role of skeletal muscle?

To produce the force and movement necessary for life


What % of the body is skeletal muscle?



Why is skeletal muscle voluntary?

Because its contraction is controlled by input from the nervous system via alpha motor neurons. It is an elastic and excitable cell.


How many muscles fibres synapse per motor neuron?

Alpha motor neurons branch and synapse onto a number of skeletal muscle fibres.


What is a 'motor unit'?

A single alpha motor neuron and the muscle fibres it innervates


How is contraction modulated by recruitment?

The more motor units, and therefore muscle fibres that are recruited, the large the force and strength of contraction of the muscle.


What follows its electrochemical gradient INTO the excitable cell?

Ca2+ (1.5mM) -----> Ca2+ (0.1mM)
Na+ (145mM) -------> Na+ (10mM)


What would follow its electrochemical gradient OUT of the cell?

K+ (145mM) --------> K+ (4mM)


What is the size principle of recruitment?

"under load, motor units are recruited smaller --> larger. So smaller oxidative units that are more sensitive to change are recruited first, THEN large glycotic units.


What is the purpose of schwann cells?

To enable fast propagation of AP


What are the presynaptic events?

1) AP in the presynaptic cell reaches the nerve terminal
2) Depolarisation opens voltage gated Ca2+ channels, calcium follows its electrochemical gradient into the presynaptic cell
3) Ca2+ influx triggers exocytosis of vesicles containing neurotransmitter acetyl choline.
4) ACh diffuses across the synaptic cleft
5) ACh is broken down by acetylcholinesterase in the synaptic cleft


What happens to the pre-synaptic membrane?

It is recycled, so there is no net loss!


What is within the presynaptic terminal boutons?

Mitochondria, neurotransmitters within vesicles, dense bar/active zone.


What is the dense bar for?

Site of neurotransmitter release


What are the steps of vesicle cycling?

1) Neurotransmitters are actively transported into synaptic vesicles
2) Synaptic vesicles gather at the active zone
3) synaptic vesicles dock at the active zone
4) vesicles are primed
5) converted into a state of competence for Ca2+ triggered pore opening
6-8) vesicles endocytose and recycle


What generates End Plate Current (EPC)

The near synchronous bindings of more then 200,000 ACH receptor ion channels. 17,000 Na+ and less K+ leave, resulting in depolarisation


What causes ACh to debind from ACh receptor ion channels?

Aceytlcholinesterase activity


How is the falling time course of EPC determined

By the random closure of individual channels over a period of time


Are AChR specific or non-specific?



How big is the synaptic cleft ACh has to travel?



How does acetylcholinesterase work

Hydrolyses ACH into choline and acetate


Where does choline and acetate go post-hydrolysis?

Choline: diffuses back into the presynaptic terminal and is reabsorbed (to make more ACh)
Acetate: Diffuses into surrounding medium


List the post synaptic events at the NMJ

1) 2 ACh molecules bind to ACh receptor ion channels
2) Channels open
3) Na+ inflow, K+ outflow
4) depolaristion of motor end plate occurs (EPP)
5) opening of Na+ voltage gated channels
6) Na+ inflow
7) depolarisation of muscle fibre
8) propagation of AP


What comes first, EPP or EPC?

EPC. The movement of Na+ and K+ through ACh receptors causes the EPC, which in turn causes EPP


Where would you find AChE and what does it do?

This enzyme is found anchored to the collagen fibrils of the basement membrane, where is hydrolyses ACh


What can target AChE and what would happen if this occurred?

Insecticides and military nerve gases (sarin)

If this occurred ACh would not breakdown, would remain bound to AChR and the muscle would remain activated, in a state of rigor.