In order to explore idiotypic, anti-idiotypic, and anti-anti-idiotypic responses to allergens, BALB/c mice were immunized with affinity-purified human idiotypic antibodies directed against a highly purified shrimp allergen. This resulted in the production of anti-idiotypic antibodies which were quantitated by using rabbit idiotypic antibodies raised against the same purified allergen. The mouse anti-idiotypic antibodies recognized shrimp-specific human idiotypic antibodies of the IgE isotype from 18 of 20 individuals, and IgG antibodies from 14 of 20 shrimp-sensitive patients. Immunization of BALB/c mice with affinity-purified, allergen-specific anti-idiotypic antibodies induced anti-allergen IgE and IgG responses in the absence of the allergen. This paper thus presents evidence that anti-idiotypic antibodies raised against allergen-specific idiotypic antibodies may substitute for the original allergen in the induction of allergen-specific idiotypic antibodies. The demonstration of shared idiotopes on IgG and IgE antibodies in the sera of shrimp-sensitive patients supports the use of allergen-specific anti-idiotypic antibodies as surrogate allergens.

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