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J Physiol. 1968 Nov;199(1):115-35.

The release of adenosine triphosphate from frog skeletal muscle in vitro.


1. Active frog sartorius muscle in vitro liberates a substance into the bathing solution which has a pronounced stimulatory action on the frog heart.2. The stimulatory effect is not due to an increase in the K(+) concentration of the bathing solution, nor is it due to the liberation of catecholamines.3. In a molecular sieve chromatography procedure the stimulatory substance can be eluted in a single fraction which shows a maximum absorption of U.V. light at a wave-length of 265 nm, indicative of the presence of substances containing a purine ring.4. Low concentrations (10(-7)-10(-8) g/ml.) of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and uridine triphosphate (UTP) have a marked stimulatory action on the frog heart. The action of ATP and ADP on the heart is qualitatively very similar to that of the muscle bathing solution, while the action of UTP is distinctly different. The triphosphates of inosine, cytidine and guanosine stimulate the heart when in high concentration only. Adenosine and adenosine monophosphate do not stimulate the heart.5. Incubation of the muscle bathing solution and of solutions of ATP with the enzyme apyrase for the same time produces a similar marked reduction in the stimulatory action of both on the heart. Apyrase catalyses the break-down of nucleotide triphosphates to monophosphates.6. The elution behaviour of the stimulatory substance determined by molecular sieve chromatography is the same as that for ATP.7. The muscle bathing solution causes light to be emitted from firefly lantern extract, the pattern of light emission being similar to that produced by nucleotide triphosphates.8. The concentrations of ATP having the same quantitative action on the frog heart and on firefly extract as a given muscle bathing solution are almost identical, whereas the matching concentrations of ADP and UTP in the two methods of assay are widely different.9. It is concluded that ATP is released from active frog skeletal muscle in vitro. This release may play an important part in the reactive hyperaemia of muscular exercise since ATP has a powerful vasodilator action.

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