Cells On Duty in
If an enemy overcomes all barriers
and succeeds in entering our body, this does not mean
that the defence army has been defeated. On the contrary,
the real war has just begun, and the main soldiers
come into play at this stage. The first soldiers to
meet the foe are the eater cells, that is, phagocytes,
which continuously travel in our body and keep control
of what is going on.
These are "special cleaning cells", which ingest the
unwanted microbes that have penetrated the inner surfaces
of the body, and alert the defence system when necessary.
Certain cells in the defence system
capture, break down, digest, and eliminate the miniscule
particles and liquid foreign matter that have entered
our body. This event is called "phagocytosis". (cell
Phagocytosis is one of the most important elements
of the immune system. It provides an immediate and
effective protection against infections.
Phagocytes, considered the "police
forces of the body," can be examined under two separate
1. Mobile police forces:
These roam in the blood and shuttle forwards
and backwards between the tissues when required. These
cell units, which circulate throughout the body, also
serve as scavengers.
2. Immobile police forces:
These are immobile macrophages, which are situated
in the gaps in various tissues. They perform phagocytosis
on the micro-organisms from where they are, without
the invader antigens (foreign micro-organisms) are
few enough for the present eater cells to deal with,
they are destroyed with no extra alarm being given.
But if the invader microbes are too great in number,
the eater cells may fail to get them under control.
Unable to digest all of them, they expand in size.
When distended by the antigens, the cells burst, causing
a liquid substance (pus) to overflow. This does not
mean that the war is lost. So far, the eater cells
have just met the microbes, which have still many
tougher barriers to pass. The formation of pus activates
the lymphocytes, which have been delivered from the
bone marrow, the lymph nodes, and above all, the thymus.
In a second wave of defence, the newly arriving defence
cells attack everything they find around, including
cell debris, available antigens, and even old white
blood cells. These defence cells are the real eater
cells, - the macrophages, a type of phagocyte.
The First Aid
Forces: The Macrophages
When the war becomes intense, the
macrophages swing into action. Macrophages operate
in a specific manner exclusive to themselves. They
do not become involved in a one-to-one combat like
the antibodies. Unlike the antibodies, they do not
work with a system similar to a bomb aimed at a single
target. Just like a gun firing lead shot, or a bomb
that can be aimed at many targets together, the macrophages
can destroy a great number of enemies together, all
at the same time.
Like all other defence cells, the
macrophages are also derived from the bone marrow.
The macrophages, which have a very long life span,
can live for months, and even years. Despite their
small size (10-15 micrometers), they are highly crucial
for human life. They possess the ability to absorb
and digest big molecules in the cell through phagocytosis
Their characteristic of ingestion
makes them the scavengers of the defence system. They
remove all materials that need to be cleaned up, such
as micro-organisms, antigen-antibody complexes, and
other substances similar in structure to an antigen.
At the end of these processes, substances that would
be qualified as antigens are digested, and thus pose
no further threat to the organism.
When a country is involved in war,
a general mobilization is declared. Most of the natural
resources and the budget are expended on military
requirements. The economy is re-arranged to meet the
needs of this extraordinary situation and the country
is involved in an all-out war effort. Similarly, the
defence system would also announce mass mobilization,
recruiting all of its elements to fight the enemy.
Do you wonder how this happens?
If enemy members are more than the
currently fighting macrophages can handle, a special
substance is secreted. The name of this substance
is "pyrogen" and it is a kind of alarm call.
After traveling a long way, "pyrogen"
reaches the brain where it stimulates the fever-increasing
centre of the brain. Once alerted, the brain sets
off alarms in the body and the person develops a high
fever. The patient with a high fever naturally feels
the need to rest. Thus, the energy needed by the defence
army is not spent elsewhere. The pyrogen produced
by the macrophages is perfectly designed to trigger
the fever-raising mechanism of the brain. Therefore,
the macrophage, and the pyrogen, and the temperature-raising
centre of the brain, and the brain have all to be
created at the same time.
As is evident, there is a perfect
plan at work. Every requirement is created flawlessly
for this plan to succeed; the macrophages, the pyrogen
substance and other similar substances, the fever-raising
centre of the brain and the fever-raising mechanisms
of the body…
the absence of even one of these, the system would
simply not work. Therefore, it can by no means be
claimed that such a system could have originated step
by step through evolution.
Who, then, has made this plan?
Who knows that the body's fever must
rise, and that only that way the energy needed by
the defence army will not be spent elsewhere?
Is it the macrophages?
Macrophages are merely tiny cells
invisible to the naked eye. They do not have the capacity
to think. They are living organisms that only obey
an established superior order; they merely carry out
Is it the brain?
Definitely no. Nor does the brain
possess any power to create or produce something.
Just as in all other systems, in this system, too,
it is in a position not to give orders, but to obey
orders and submit to them.
Is it man?
Certainly not. This system protects
man from certain death, although he is not even aware
that such a perfect system is at work in his own body.
Even if man were ever ordered to develop an army in
his own body to fight the enemy and cause his fever
to rise, and provide this army to work round the clock
in his entire body, he would simply have no idea what
Today, mankind is not even able to
understand the details of the present order in the
defence system, despite all the technology at its
disposal - much less imitate it.
is an obvious fact that man was created with all of
his features in place. Willingly or unwillingly, he
submits to his Creator and the systems He established.
Just as everything else does…
…No, everything in
the heavens and earth belongs to Him. Everything is
obedient to Him. (Surat al-Baqara: 116)
Another incredible function of
the macrophages is supplying the lymphocytes, i.e.,
the B and T cells, which are the real heroes of the
defence system, with information about the enemy.
After phagocytosing the antigen, the antigen-presenting
cells go to the lymph nodes (lymphatic tissue) through
the lymphatic channels.
This is a very important detail.
Only if a cell possesses consciousness and reason
can it be capable of supplying and forwarding the
information pertaining to an enemy to the relevant
centres. For the macrophage cell to know that this
information will be processed by the lymphocytes,
it has to be perfectly informed about the general
strategy of the defence system. It is very clear that
the macrophage, just like all the other cells, is
the obedient element of a totally integrated system.