BALB/c mice were inoculated i.p. with graded doses of a DNP-specific, IgM mAb (designated 57.1). Injection with unmodified 57.1 in the absence of adjuvants resulted in the generation of an anti-Id response (Ab2) and an anti-anti-Id response (Ab3). The generation of serum anti-Id antibodies was found to be thymus dependent. Nude mice immunized with 57.1 were unable to produce a serum Ab2 response above nonimmunized controls whereas euthymic mice receiving identical doses of 57.1 produced strong Ab2 responses. To examine the specificity of serum anti-Id, sera from mice receiving 57.1 were screened against a panel of mAb representing at least five distinct V(H) gene families. Serum titers were significantly higher against 57.1 than against any of the other antibodies in the panel. Three of the antibodies in this panel bind FD5-1, a monoclonal anti-Id (Ab2) that also binds 57.1. However, sera from mice receiving 57.1 bound 57.1 only. Thus, the serum Ab2 response appears to be highly specific for idiotopes on 57.1. The predominant isotype of these anti-Id antibodies was IgG1. The number of isotypes detected increased in a dose dependent manner with all IgG subclasses having anti-Id specificity in sera from animals receiving the higher doses of 57.1. Further analysis of the serum demonstrated that approximately 8% of the Ab2 response was paratope-specific (inhibitable by the monovalent hapten DNP-lysine). The same sera were analyzed for the presence of Ab3 by binding to the monoclonal anti-Id antibody FD5-1. Lower serum titers of Ab3 were generated in comparison to serum titers of Ab2. Analysis of the binding specificity of the Ab3 response revealed that DNP-BSA was able to partially inhibit the binding of serum IgM and IgG Ab3 to FD5-1. A subset of the AB3 response, Ab1' that is specific for DNP was observed in a direct binding assay where detectable amounts of DNP binding IgM, IgG1, and IgG3 isotypes were present. We have thus described a complete circuit (Ab1 → Ab2 → Ab3) of antibodies within the Id network by immunizing animals with an unmodified mAb in the absence of Ag or adjuvants.