In limiting dilution analysis, the absolute frequencies of lipopolysaccharide-reactive B cell precursors producing anti-trinitrophenyl antibodies or the MOPC460 idiotype were studied in BALB/c mice, either normal, or immunized with antigen (Ab1), the idiotype (Ab2), or a monoclonal anti-idiotype antibody (Ab3). Anti-idiotype immunity results in the suppression of the B cell precursors for the relevant idiotype, and anti-(anti-idiotype) immunity leads to a 10-fold increase in precursor B cell frequencies, with a comparatively lower increase in antibody-producing precursors. The findings can only be explained by variations in the composition of the B cell compartment in the various immune states.

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