Connective Tissue

Connective tissue surrounds each muscle and may project beyond the end of its muscle fibers to form a cord-like tendon. To begin with, every individual skeletal muscle is separated from adjacent muscles and held in place by layers of fibrous connective tissues call fascia. Fibers in a tendon intertwine to attach the fibers of the muscle to the bone. In other cases, the fascia associated with a muscle may form broad, fibrous sheets called aponeuroses, which may be attached to the coverings of...

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    Full Connective Tissue Description

    [Continued from above] . . . the adjacent muscles. The layer of fascia that closely surrounds a skeletal muscle is called the epimysium. Other layers of fascia, called the perimysium, extend inward from the skeletal muscles and separate the tissue into small compartments that contain bundles of muscle fibers called fascicles. Each muscle fiber within a fascicle is surrounded by a layer of fascia in the form of a thin, delicate covering; so, all parts of a skeletal muscle are wrapped in layers of fascia, allowing the parts to have independent movement. Many nerves and blood vessels pass through these layers of connective tissue as well. A skeletal muscle fiber represents one single cell of muscle. This fiber responds to stimulation and when it responds, it contracts and relaxes. Each skeletal muscle fiber is a thin, longish cylinder with rounded ends that are attached to fascia relative to the muscle. Just beneath the cell membrane or sarcolemma, the fiber contains many threadlike myofibrils that lie alongside each other and play a fundamental role in the process of muscle contraction. The fascia associated with the individual organs of the muscular system are part of a complete network of fascia that extends throughout the body. The part of this network that surrounds and penetrates the muscles is called deep fascia. It is continuous with the subcutaneous fascia that forms the fascia covering organs in various body cavities as well as the cavities themselves.