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Terminal cisternae are enlarged areas of the sarcoplasmic reticulum surrounding the transverse tubules. These discrete regions within the muscle cell store calcium
Calcium is the chemical element with the symbol Ca and atomic number 20. It has an atomic mass of 40.078 amu. Calcium is a soft gray alkaline earth metal, and is the fifth-most-abundant element by mass in the Earth's crust...
(increasing the capacity of the sarcoplasmic reticulum to release calcium) and release it when an action potential courses down the transverse tubules, eliciting muscle contraction
Muscle fiber generates tension through the action of actin and myosin cross-bridge cycling. While under tension, the muscle may lengthen, shorten, or remain the same...
. Because terminal cisternae ensure rapid calcium delivery, they are well developed in muscles that contract quickly, such as fast twitch skeletal muscle
Skeletal muscle is a form of striated muscle tissue existing under control of the somatic nervous system- i.e. it is voluntarily controlled. It is one of three major muscle types, the others being cardiac and smooth muscle...
. The T-tubules plus adjacent terminal cisternae create a triad. In cardiac muscle, adjacent to the intercalated disks, one would find a diad
The diad is a structure in the cardiac myocyte located at the sarcomere Z-line. It is composed of a single t-tubule paired with a terminal cisterna of the sarcoplasmic reticulum. The diad plays an important role in excitation-contraction coupling by juxtaposing an inlet for the action potential...
which consists of a T-tubule adjacent to a single terminal cisterna.
Terminal cisternae are pairs of transversely oriented tubules of the sarcoplasmic reticulum occurring at regular intervals in skeletal muscle fibers; together with an intermediate T tubule they make up a triad.