Complementary idiotypes or antibodies are considered to have combining site structures which are at least partly directed against each other. Complementary antibodies were induced in A/He mice by immunization with phosphorylcholine (PC)-containing antigens and by immunization with the PC-binding IgA myeloma protein TEPC-15 (T15). Both responses were monitored by enumerating plaque-forming cells (PFC) and assaying serum antibody levels against the corresponding antigens. Mice immunized at least three times with T15 in adjuvants had markedly suppressed responses to subsequent immunization with PC; similarly, mice preimmunized multiple times with PC had suppressed responses to immunizations with T15. In contrast, mice immunized with T15 in the interval between "primary" and "secondary" immunizations with PC had undiminished PFC responses to both antigens but significantly decreased antibody titers to PC. Simultaneous responses were also induced by immunizations with T15 superimposed on weekly immunizations with PC; with this regime, immunization with T15 actually enhanced the PFC response to PC, but serum antibody to PC was significantly lower than for mice immunized with PC only. Levels of serum antibody to PC were probably lower, either because anti-PC antibody was complexed with the complementary antibody directed against T15, or because the antibody directed against T15 prevented synthesis and/or release of anti-PC antibody by cells in vivo. Thus, an established prior autogenous immune response can dramatically suppress a subsequent primary complementary response, but the effects of complementary responses on each other are more complex with different sequences of immunization. Also, the effects of variables such as the amounts and ratios of the classes of antibodies on regulation of complementary responses remain to be defined.

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