In this health video you will learn about the early uses of ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
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Raena Morgan: Hi, I'm Raena Morgan with iHealthTube. We're visiting with Dr. Eli Rapaport, a scientist involved in the development, and pursuit, and research of ATP. And, what we would like to know Dr. Rapaport is when was ATP discovered? Dr. Eli Rapaport: ATP was discovered in 1929 in Boston by Fiske SubbaRow. And they made two big discoveries essentially, they discovered ATP and then they discovered that ATP and creatine phosphate involved in the muscle function. Raena Morgan: In muscle function? Dr. Eli Rapaport: Now, the use of ATP, without really knowing a lot about the basic science, began in the late 40s and the early 50s. And, it was used mostly for two indications. One was peripheral vascular disease because the ATP has the tremendous ability to improve the vascular health and the circulation. And, the indication was stasis dermatitis, which is a skin ulcers in the lower extremities. Now, these are caused mostly by varicose and phlebitic veins. The second indication was inflammatory diseases or inflammatory joint diseases such as bursitis, tendonitis and osteoarthritis. And, this had to do mostly due to the activity of adenosine. Today, we know that adenosine is the major anti-inflammatory agent in the body, and the way adenosine acts is by interacting with adenosine receptors on white blood cells and acquitting white blood cells down, so to speak. Raena Morgan: So, they would inject the ATP? Dr. Eli Rapaport: Yes, they would inject it intramuscularly at very low levels. They would also use sublingual lozenges because the bottom of the mouth is very rich -- in ending of very small blood vessels. So, the effect of sublingual lozenges is similar to that of intramuscular injections, which is a slower delivery than intravenous injection and, of course, the oral injection is the slowest but it has the advantage of safety because when you take something orally, it goes first to the liver. So the liver controls and regulates the amounts that deliver to the circulation. Raena Morgan: So the research must have been pretty exciting because it helped inflammatory diseases, right? Dr. Eli Rapaport: Yes, the problem with that research, however, was that people didn't understand it. And they saw that at on one hand they knew that ATP is degraded to adenosine. On the other hand, they knew that, for instance, for cardiovascular indications, adenosine did not produce the effect of ATP, and here comes my big discovery. I discovered that the ATP undergoes a cycle, whereby all ATP, for instance is degraded to adenosine and inorganic phosphate, which are incorporated into the liver for the circulation as adenosine and inorganic phosphate. However, in the liver they're mixed with an endogenous pool of ATP that supplies the adenosine for red blood cell ATP synthesis. Now, the expanded red blood cell ATP synthesis then releases ATP into the blood plasma, the extracellular compartment of the blood, and that acts on the receptors on the vascular endothelial cells. The vascular endothelial are the cells that lineup the blood vessels, and that's where the extracellular acts in the blood. Now, whereas the amount of ATP in cells is about from 2 to 10 millimole, the amount of ATP in the extracellular compartment is 1,000 to 1-10,000 of that level. Raena Morgan: Okay. Well, you know, I would like to have us come back and talk about ATP and cardiovascular health in another time. Dr. Eli Rapaport: Be glad to. Raena Morgan: Thank you Dr. Rapaport for joining us