IgM allotype heterozygous F1 mice were independently suppressed for Igh6a or Igh6b to evaluate the contribution of B-1 and B-2 cells to natural serum IgM levels and Ab responses. B-2 B cells expressing IgM of the suppressed allotype were evident in the spleens of suppressed mice 4 to 6 weeks after cessation of the suppression regimen, whereas B-1 B cells of the suppressed allotype were undetectable for up to 9 months. Although serum IgM of the suppressed allotype was initially depleted in mice suppressed for either allotype, by 7 months of age, there were detectable levels of IgM of the suppressed allotype in the serum; however, the levels were significantly below that found in nonsuppressed mice. When mice were immunized with either the T-independent or T-dependent form of phosphorylcholine, those suppressed for either allotype, and consequently depleted of B-1 B cells of that allotype, did not respond with phosphorylcholine-specific IgM of the suppressed allotype. In contrast, when mice were immunized with a 1-3 dextran, the Igh6a allotype-suppressed mice were able to produce dextran-specific IgM of that allotype. These results show that allotype-bearing B-1 cells of both allotypes can be effectively suppressed by this suppression protocol and this produces long-lasting effects on B-1 cell levels and serum IgM of the suppressed allotype. These observations reflect the derivation of the majority of B-1 cells from fetal-neonatal precursors, which cannot be replaced by newly emerging B-2 cells of adult origin. Their ablation by antibody treatment results in permanent alterations to the adult B-cell repertoire. © 1994, Harwood Academic Publishers GmbH.