12 Differences Between Striated, Unstriated, and Cardiac Muscle

Skeletal muscle/striated muscle

Striated muscles are those muscles having cross striations, therefore called striated muscles. They are attached to bones through tendons.

Their activities are in our control, which means they are voluntary in action and so these types of muscles are known as voluntary muscles.

Smooth muscle/unstriated

Unstriated muscles are those muscles that do not show cross striations, their cells are connected through gap junction, look smooth in appearance, so known as smooth muscles.

The activities of the smooth muscle fiber are not under our control, which means these muscles are involuntary in action, therefore, called involuntary muscles.

Cardiac muscle

These muscles are striated and involuntary. Have rich blood supply is found in these muscles because of more mitochondria and have the intercalated disc or septa.

These muscles are similar to skeletal muscle in structure and similar to smooth muscle in function.

S.No.ConditionStriped or striated muscleUnstriped or unstriated muscle or non-striatedCardiac muscle
1.LocationThese muscle fibers are present in the upper and lower limbs, biceps, triceps, deltoid, …Ciliary muscle of the eye (Iris), urinary bladder, urinogenital tract, arrector pili muscle in the dermis of the skin, intestinal muscle, abdominal muscle, internal organs, …Found in the heart wall
2.ShapeLong and cylindrical in shapedShort and spindle-shapedLong and cylindrical in shape
3.Branching in fiberUnbranchedUnbranchedBranched
4.Nucleus in cytoplasmMulti-nucleated cytoplasm (Syncytium)Uninucleated cytoplasmUninucleated cytoplasm
5.Striations (dark + light bands)PresentAbsentPresent
6.DivisionOblique bridge and intercalated disc absentAbsentPresent
7.Regulated byCentral nervous system (CNS)Autonomic nervous system (ANS)Both CNS and ANS
8.Blood supplyAdequateLessRich blood supply
9.FatigueFast get fatigueDon’t get fatiguedNever get fatigued
10.Contraction speedFastestSlowest but for a long periodFast
12.Image (credit: sciencelearn.org.nz)Skeletal muscles fibreSmooth muscles fibreCardiac muscle fibre
Difference between striated, non-striated, and cardiac muscle

Skeletal and smooth muscles are further divided into red and white muscle fibre.


  1. Healthnise.com
  2. Scienceneo.com

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