the miracle of the hormones

The Short Life Story of the Messenger NO

The walls of the blood vessels are covered by smooth muscles that can contract and relax. When plaque forms in an artery of the heart, the blood flow diminishes. A clogged artery of the heart suddenly goes into spasm, the amount of blood going to the heart is reduced and chest pain occurs. In this situation, the level of nitric oxide rises causing dilation in the arteries that nourish the heart muscles.

Every nitric oxide molecule lasts about 10 seconds. It is designed to communicate its message within this short time to the relevant recipients and do this perfectly without fail. The messenger NO molecules secreted by the endothelium cells are dispersed with great speed in every direction. Those which are directed towards the smooth muscle cells enter the membrane of these cells. The smooth muscle cell membrane acts as a selector giving entry to the NO it recognizes. Without wasting any time, the NO molecule that enters the smooth muscle cells finds a special enzyme called GC and communicates its vitally important message. As a result, a series of complex chemical reactions occur within the cell.

What we have called a messenger is a molecule, 0.000000001 meter in size, containing only two atoms. These tiny molecules act as mail deliverers finding the GC enzyme that is the recipient of the message they carry. There are thousands of different enzymes performing different functions inside cells. Despite this, the message is delivered every time to the right address, that is, to the correct enzyme. Moreover, messenger molecules have a very limited life span, but they never make a mistake in timing. The molecules that carry the messages do not have a compass or similar device to show them the direction, but they never lose their way.

The speed with which the nitric oxide molecule performs its function can be compared to modern communication by e-mail. NO acts just like an electronic postal system, sending many messages at high speed to their destinations.

The speed at which the nitric oxide molecule delivers its message can be compared to an electronic postal system.

When GC enzyme in the smooth muscle cells receives the message brought by NO, it begins its activity. The duty of this worker enzyme is to turn the GTP, the energy-carrying molecules, into cGMP. The many reactions that occur between these stages are still unknown.

To put it in most simplest terms, at the end of the activity of the enzymes, the concentration of calcium in the muscle cell diminishes, causing a separation in the fibers and the relaxing of the muscle cells. As a result of this, the vessels dilate. In short, the message carried by the nitric oxide molecule has a vital importance in the adjustment of the pressure in the vessels, and what is explained here is only one of the millions of complex communication operations that go on every moment in our bodies.

How is it that NO molecules that have no intelligence or consciousness know the perfect systems that world-renowned professors can still not fathom? And how is it that they know, to the last second, when they must begin their activity and when they must end it? How is it that, as soon as it is produced, as if it had received a command from somewhere, it is able to deliver high-speed messages to the right address, exactly on time and without fail?

NO cannot perform these wonderful operations by itself. This molecule, like millions of other molecules in nature, is the work of a flawless creation, and it is a demonstration of God's limitless power and knowledge.

A message-bearing hormone binds with receptors on the artery. As a result of this bond, NO is produced. The NO molecules travel towards the smooth muscles and activate the GC enzyme there. This worker enzyme converts the GTP, the energy carrying molecules into cGMP. The cGMP causes calcium ions to go to the storage areas in the cell. As a result of these operations, the smooth muscle cells relax and the blood vessels dilate.

The Production Facility For Nitric Oxide: The Endothelial Cell

The amino acid known as Argentina-L, the nitric oxide synthesis, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate, calmodulin, oxygen, flavin mononucleotide, flavine-adenine-dinucleotide, tetrahydrobiopterin.

The endothelial cell knows these microscopic materials very well and uses them to produce nitric oxide molecules.

Using modern advanced technology, factories producing chemical products are a trillion times trillion times larger than endothelial cells. In spite of this, the technology of the microscopic factory we call endothelium is much more advanced than that of the giant industrial installations that we are familiar with. The endothelial cell, whose complex operations have been understood only within the last ten years of the twentieth century, accomplish all these without difficulty.

The endothelial cell knows what chemical material must be used and in what proportion to produce the NO molecule. There is no error in production. For example, N2O (laughing gas) is not produced instead of NO. The production within the endothelial cell never relies on chance; the balances in the production are very delicate. At this point, recall that if the endothelial cell produced fewer messengers than required, our blood vessels would constrict, and our blood pressure would rise quickly, causing a heart attack. If too much is produced, our blood vessels would dilate excessively, our blood pressure would fall too low, and we would go into shock. But endothelial cells never make such mistakes that could cause our deaths.

These cells are ready to produce NO at every moment of our lives; when the need arises, the production goes into action immediately. This tiny factory works very efficiently; it does not store the NO molecules it produces, so that problems associated with storage do not arise.

This remarkable factory in the depths of our blood vessels does not produce unwanted by-products. If we consider that global warming, acid rain, environmental pollution and many other problems facing the world today come from chemical waste, we can better understand how efficient endothelial cells are. The nitric oxide molecules do their job in only ten seconds and afterwards disintegrate so that no dangerous side effects occur from their accumulation in the body. All this means that endothelial cells use the ideal method in the production of chemical products.

An industrial factory is the work of engineers and workers. The systems in this factory show the highly advanced technology of their designers. The endothelium factory is the work of a superior Creator; this microscopic factory, together with the other 100 trillion cells in our body, clearly demonstrate the eternal knowledge of God.