The Limiting Dilution Approach to the Analysis of the Idiotypic Repertoire

  • Daniélé Primi
  • Dominique Juy
  • Pierre-André Cazenave


The expression of the variable gene repertoire can be studied using different strategies, but as each experimental protocol has its limitations, it follows that the final interpretation of the results obtained is always governed by the particular limitations of the strategy employed. Consequently, it is not surprising that many conflicting data have been reported in this field. For example, the available idiotypic repertoire can be studied using immunization with antigen, but this approach only provides information concerning the antigensensitive B-cell clones, and thus does not permit the evaluation of the complete representation of a given idiotope in the whole antibody pool. More representative data on the B-cell receptor repertoire can be obtained by the clonotype analysis of anti-idiotype-treated animals(1,2) but, in this case, different immunization protocols can also produce misleading results. An alternative way to obtain a quantitative description of the repertoire of both mature and precursor B cells is to polyclonally expand the B-cell pool and to study the frequency of B cells which are precursors for clones secreting immunoglobulin with a given paratope or idiotype.(3–5) This approach has the advantage of providing a complete description of the immune system with regard to the specific clones expressed within a B-cell subset. In addition, as the frequency of a given paratope or idiotope is determined in the absence of antigen, this analysis is preferable to others since it does not depend on a particular protocol of immunization but rather reflects the absolute frequency of competent B cells in a steady state. For these reasons we have recently adapted this methodology for our studies on the expression of both the available and the potential idiotypic repertoire.


Maternal Environment Receptor Repertoire Limit Dilution Analysis Antibody Variable Region Immunoglobulin Idiotype 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniélé Primi
    • 1
  • Dominique Juy
    • 1
  • Pierre-André Cazenave
    • 1
  1. 1.Unité d’Immunochimie AnalytiqueInstitut PasteurParisFrance

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