In intact pigeon erythrocytes, adenosine is a potent inhibitor of Na,K-dependent adenosine triphosphatase. In purified cell-membrane preparations, adenosine is only a weak competitive inhibitor of Na,K-ATPase, with respect to ATP. This indicates that adenosine must not be a direct inhibitor of the sodium pump in intact red cells per se; instead, adenosine exerts its inhibitory effect via endogenous cell factors.

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