Definitions

intercalated disk

Intercalated disc

An intercalated disc is an undulating double membrane separating adjacent cells in cardiac muscle fibers. Intercalated discs support synchronized contraction of cardiac tissue. They can easily be visualized by a longitudinal section of the tissue.

Three types of membrane junctions exist within an intercalated disc—fascia adherens, macula adherens (aka desmosomes), and gap junctions.

  • Fascia adherens are anchoring sites for actin, and connects to the closest sarcomere.
  • Macula adherens stop separation during contraction by binding intermediate filaments joining the cells together also called a desmosome.
  • Gap junctions allow action potentials to spread between cardiac cells by permitting the passage of ions between cells, producing depolarization of the heart muscle.

When observing cardiac tissue through a microscope, intercalated discs are an identifying feature of cardiac muscle.

See also

External links

  • - "Ultrastructure of the Cell: cardiac muscle, intercalated disk "

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