Regulation of the immune response. II. Concomitant idiotope-specific enhancement and suppression can result in a phenotypically normal response.
Idiotope-specific immunoenhancement or suppression was induced in C57BL/6 mice by the injection of physiological amounts (100 ng-10 micrograms) of monoclonal anti-idiotope antibody. As previously described, nanogram doses enhanced idiotope expression while a 10-micrograms dose of anti-idiotope antibody induced the activation of a population of Thy 1.2+, Lyt 1-, 2+ suppressors. Both positive and negative regulatory activities were confined to the non-mu, idiotope+ compartment of the plaque-forming cell response. Administration of intermediate doses of anti-idiotope antibody resulted in an immune state indistinguishable from that of naive mice. This apparently normal response was in fact the product of a simultaneous activation of balanced enhancing and suppressive activities. When treated with anti-Lyt 2 or Lyt 1 and complement, spleen cell populations taken from such phenotypically "naive" mice revealed latent idiotope-specific immunoenhancement or suppression, demonstrating the components of a functional regulatory equilibrium.
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