Practical applications of internal image idiotypes

In the early studies on idiotype regulation, Eichmann and Rajewsky showed that polyclonal xenogeneic anti-Id antibodies of a particular isotype injected into mice can stimulate the production of antibodies against a polysaccharide antigen of streptococcus group A. Similar results have been obtained with monoclonal anti-Id antibodies in a hapten system, namely the activation of clones producing anti-TNP antibodies expressing 460Id.

Important information regarding the stimulatory aspect of anti-Id antibodies was provided by Hier-naux and colleagues, who showed that the injection of minute amounts of anti-Id antibodies after birth can expand silent clones. Knowledge of the expansion of silent clones was important for an understanding of the effect of anti-Id in tumor therapy.

However, Nisonoff and Roitt predicted that the idiotype mimicry of foreign antigens can serve as a basis for the development of new vaccines based on the preparation of anti-Id antibodies. This hypothesis stimulated studies of the utilization of anti-Id antibodies as vaccines against bacterial, viral and parasitic antigens and was largely extended to other areas. An area in which anti-Id antibodies have seen practical application is tumor therapy both for lymphocytic tumors, in which the idiotype functions as tumor-associated antigen, as well as solid tumors. In this case, the injection of antibodies against tumor-associated antigens can elicit the production of internal image, which expands the clones involved in anti-tumor immunity.

Other applications of internal image consist of the utilization of Ab2p to identify or purify cell receptors for biologically active substances such as enzymes, hormones, or drugs. Anti-Id antibodies raised against antibodies specific for biologically active ligands will bind to the cell receptor and therefore permit its identification or eventual isolation.

The internal image concept has provided a theoretical basis for the practical application of antiidiotype antibodies in biology and medicine.

See also: Antibodies, antigenicity of; Idiotype;

Idiotype network; Molecular mimicry; Vaccines.

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