The antibody response of BALB/c mice to trinitrophenyl (TNP)-levan or TNP-Nocardia water-soluble mitogen (NWSM) includes a small but significant fraction of antibodies which share idiotypes (Id) with the dinitrophenyl (DNP)- and TNP-binding myeloma protein MOPC-460. Active immunization of BALB/c mice with MOPC-460 or passive administration of anti-460-Id antibodies suppresses the 460-Id+ component of the anti-TNP response. By contrast, active immunization of BALB/c with anti-460-Id antibodies or passive administration of BALB/c anti-[anti-460-Id] antibodies leads to an enhanced 460-Id+ component in the anti-TNP antibodies produced in response to TNP-levan or TNP-NWSM. This enhanced 460-Id+ response appears to be a result of the elimination of suppressor T lymphocytes specific for the 460-Id as T lymphocytes from such mice are unable to suppress the in vitro 460-Id+ response to TNP-NWSM whereas normal T cells are suppressive. These results indicate that suppressor cells specific for 460-Id normally regulate the activation of precursors of cells capable of secreting 460-Id+ anti-TNP antibodies.

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