The Miracle Of The Immune System

The Weapon Factories of the Human Body: The B Cells

Some of the lymphocytes produced in the bone marrow depart when they mature and become fully functional, and are transported to the lymphatic tissues through the blood. These lymphocytes are called the B cells. 

B cells are the weapon factories of the body and they produce the proteins, called antibodies, which are meant to attack the enemy.

The B Cell Pathway

The cells undergo a highly complex and laborious process to become B cells. These cells must first pass a severe test in order to become the warriors who will protect human health. 

In their initial phase, the B cells rearrange the gene fragments that will form an antibody molecule. These genes are actively transcribed as soon as the rearrangement is complete. At this point, it is very important to note how a tiny cell can perform complex tasks such as arranging and transcription. What is arranged and transcribed is actually information. And information can be arranged and organized only by a being who possesses intelligence. Furthermore, the outcome after the arrangement is extremely important: this information will later be used in the manufacture of antibodies. 

The transformation of B cells rapidly goes on. Upon an order coming from an unknown source, cells produce proteins called "alfa" and "beta", which surround the cell membrane. At a further level, a range of complicated processes are due to take place in the cell to enable it to produce some molecules that will enable it to bind to antigens. At the end of all these complicated operations, the cells turn into a factory that recognizes the enemy as soon as it makes contact with it, and is able produce millions of different weapons. 

Can Every B Cell That Has Been Manufactured Stay Alive?

The more we delve into the details of the defence system, the more miracles we encounter. As stated before, B cells manufacture antibodies. Antibodies are weapons that are manufactured purely to cause harm to enemy cells. So, what happens if the weapons produced by the B cell confuse their targets and start to hit friendly cells?

In that case, the other cells send a signal inside the B cell. This signal is actually an order for the cell to "commit suicide". Eventually, some enzymes in the nucleus of the cell are activated and they decompose the DNA of the cell. A perfectly working auto-control mechanism protects the body, and finally, only the B cells that produce antibodies that cause harm to the enemy can stay alive. 

Only comprised of a compact nucleus and very little cytoplasm initially, the B cells undergo unbelievable changes when they meet an antigen. They divide repeatedly and build up thousands of assembly points in their cytoplasm for the manufacture of antibodies, as well as an extensive channeling system for the packaging and exporting the antibodies. One B cell can pump out more than 10 million antibody molecules an hour. 

Here is a single cell that transforms itself into a factory competent enough to produce 10 million weapons an hour on meeting an enemy. If we remember that this cell can produce different weapons for each of its millions of enemies, we can better understand the scope of the miracle in question here.

Some B cells become "memory cells". These cells do not immediately participate in the body's defence, but keep molecular records of past invaders in order to accelerate a potential war in the future. Their memory is very strong. When the body meets the same enemy again, this time it is rapidly geared to the appropriate weaponry production. Thus, defence becomes faster and more efficient. 

Here, we cannot help asking ourselves: "How can man, who considers himself the most advanced being, have a memory weaker than that of a tiny cell?"

Unable to explain even how the memory of a normal human being forms and works, evolutionists never attempt to explain the existence of such a memory as a matter of evolution. 

If a lump of flesh the size of a hundredth of a millimeter had only one single piece of information, and used this information for the benefit of mankind in the most accurate way, even this would be a miracle in its own right. However, what we are referring to here goes far beyond that. The cell stores millions of pieces of information for the benefit of man and uses this information accurately in combinations beyond man's comprehension. Man is able to survive thanks to the wisdom these cells display.

Memory cells are cells specially created to protect man's health. God equipped them with strong memorizing ability by design. Otherwise, it would be impossible for the cell to develop a strategy on its own accord and give itself within this strategy the responsibility for storing information. Moreover, the cell is even unaware of such a need; much less does it feel the need to employ such a strategy.

In addition, there is another important question that needs to be answered about the strong memories of the memory cells. In a normal human being, eight million cells die every second to be replaced by new ones. Therefore, the metabolism continuously renews itself. Yet the life span of memory cells is much longer than the life span of other cells. This characteristic helps them to protect people from diseases thanks to the information in their memories. These cells, however, are not everlasting. Though a long time later, they eventually die. At this point, we are left with a very surprising situation. Memory cells transfer the information they possess to the next generation before they die. People are indebted to these memory cells for not having to be afflicted all over again by the same in diseases they caught in infancy (measles, mumps, etc.). 

How then can this cell know that it has to transfer this information?

This surely cannot be attributed to the cell itself, but to the ability granted to it by its Creator.

How Do the B cells Recognize the Enemy?

In a complete state of preparedness for war, the B cells then learn to discriminate the enemies from the body cells before defending the body.

They do not need to expend much effort to do this, because these cells and the antibodies they manufacture are able to recognize the enemy directly from their shapes without any assistance. A receptor on their surface meets the antigen for which it was programmed, and binds to several small parts on it. Thus, the antigen is identified as a foreigner. In this way, B cells can easily recognize antigens, such as bacteria. 

What is the Function of B cells?

B cells are like guards who are always on the look-out for microbes. When they encounter an invader, they rapidly divide and start to produce antibodies. These antibodies bind to microbes like B cell receptors. The enemy cells that are marked by the antibodies as foreigners are driven out of the body at the end of the relentless struggle of phagocytes and T cells. By the time the B cells inactivate the enemy with the millions of antibodies they have produced, they have also marked it for killer cells. Here, there is another important point, which is as important as destroying and marking foreign cells. It is about how so many antibodies can be produced by a limited number of genes. 

As outlined in detail in the section on "Antibodies", the B cells use the genes in the human body to manufacture antibodies. However, the number of genes in the human body is less than the number of antibodies produced. This situation causes no problem for the cells. Despite all these limitations, they succeed in producing nearly 2 million antibody types an hour.9 B cells interact in various combinations with available genes to make the above-mentioned production. It is literally impossible for a cell to think up these combinations. These unconscious cells are given the ability to involve themselves in these combinations by the will of God. This is because "...When He decides on something, He just says to it, 'Be!' and it is." (Surat al-Baqara:117)

No other force in the heavens and on the earth save God is capable of ordering even a single feature of the trillions of cells. It becomes possible only by the will of God that a cell performs such mathematical operations as producing the most appropriate weapon to inactivate every enemy that has invaded the cell. 

Brave Warriors: T cells

Some lymphocytes migrate to the thymus after they are manufactured in the bone marrow. The lymphocytes, which multiply and mature here, are called T cells. These cells mature to form two different types: killer and helper T cells. After a three-week education, T cells migrate to the spleen, lymph nodes, and intestinal tissues to wait for the time of their mission. 

The T cell Pathway

In comparison to B cells, T cells must go through a much more complicated course to be ready to commence their mission. Just like B cells, they, too, are simple cells in the beginning. These simple cells go through a series of difficult tests to become a T cell. 

In the first test, it is checked whether the cell can recognize the enemy or not. The cells recognizes the enemy with the assistance of "MHC"(Major Histocompatibility Complex) located on the surface of the enemy, which is a molecule that subjects the antigen to a series of chemical processes and presents it to the T cells. 

Eventually, only those cells that are able to identify the enemy can survive. The others are not tolerated and they are immediately destroyed. 

The recognition of enemy cells alone does not ensure the survival of T cells. These cells must also have a very good knowledge of the harmless substances and the regular tissues of the human body so to as prevent unnecessary conflict, which will eventually harm the body. 
 

What is the MHC (Major Histocompatibility Complex) Molecule?

MHC is a molecule specially created to help the T cells in recognizing the enemy. They subject the antigen to a series of chemical processes and present it to the T cells. With the aid of MHC molecules, virus particles, cancer cell molecules, and even particles belonging to the inner part of a bacterium can be detected. 

There is a very important reason for the T cells to use MHC molecules. This helps them to penetrate host cells and locate camouflaged viruses. However, even the help of the MHC molecule is not sufficient for T cells to fulfill their function. T cells also need a helper cell. Called the APC (antigen-presenting cells) for the sake of brevity, these cells break antigens apart and grab a very important part from the antigen. This part contains the amino acid sequence that determines the antigen's identity. The T cell is activated when it receives this identity information from the APCs. 

As we can see, there is a need for a superb sub-system for the defence system even to start a war. The absence of even a single component of this intelligence network, made up of many interconnected subunits, would render the system useless. Under these circumstances, it would be beyond reason to talk about coincidence in the formation of such an intelligence system. Entertaining such views would be verging on superstition. 

There is wisdom at all levels of this system which has been flawlessly created by God. An example of this would be the performance of APC cells that bring the enemy to T cells. These cells are aware that T cells can recognize the enemy from its amino acid sequence. This is one of the thousands of pieces of evidence that both cells are created by the same power, that is, God. Either a macrophage or a B cell presents an antigen to a helper T cell. To accomplish this, the antigen has to be digested to peptides that are combined with an MHC protein. The complex is presented to the T cell. In return, the helper T cell produces and secretes lymphokines that stimulate T cells and other immune cells.


9- Scientific American, September 1993, p. 58