The pivotal role played by antigen in the clonal selection of B cells for initial participation in an immune response is well established. Antigen selective mechanisms ensure that antigen-binding antibodies are produced during all stages of the immune response. However, antibodies that lack specificity for the immunogen might also be produced during the course of an antigen-driven immune response . It has been suggested that, through idiotype-antiidiotype network interactions within the immune system, production of antibodies that lack specificity for the immunogen but that share idiotopes with antigen-binding antibodies could result (1). In addition, data obtained by a number of investigators suggest that somatic mutation of antibody V region genes occurs at a rate of 10(-3)/basepair/cell division in B cells participating in an immune response (2, 3). One outcome of such V region structural alteration could be antibodies that lack, or have drastically reduced affinity for the immunogen . We sought to identify and characterize some of the antibody by-products of the antigen-driven immune response that are expected to be created by the mechanisms described above.

This content is only available as a PDF.