The antibody response to α1→3 dextran (DEX) in BALB/c mice consists of a family of closely related yet highly heterogeneous molecules. Although these antibodies have been previously characterized both idiotypically and structurally, detailed analysis of responding clones has not been possible using conventional anti-idiotype antibodies. Monoclonal syngeneic and allogeneic anti-idiotype antibodies (MAIDs) specific for anti-DEX antibodies were used in this study to dissect the serum antibody response to DEX in BALB/c mice. The constructed MAIDs showed considerable heterogeneity by isoelectric focusing and by their binding characteristics to a series of DEX specific myeloma and hybridoma proteins. The predominant heavy chain isotype of these MAIDs was γ1. These antibodies were used to identify individual idiotypic structures (IdI) on J558, or M104E as well as cross-reactive determinants common to both (IdX). Although both IdX and IdI MAIDs were obtained, IdI specific antibodies were obtained more frequently. BALB/c mice immunized with DEX produced antibodies expressing both IDI but not in highly variable amounts. A large percentage of, but not all DEX specific antibody, could be accounted for by IdX bearing antibodies. Suppression of adult and neonatal mice by IdI specific MAIDs was effective with precise elimination of only those clones expressing IdI determinants leaving the total λ bearing anti-DEX response intact. Suppression of adults and neonates by an IdX specific MAID resulted in a temporary and partial suppression of the total λ bearing anti-DEX response along with total suppression of the IdX portion of the response. Unlike other systems these monoclonal antibodies produce only suppression, and under a variety of conditions enhancement of anti-DEX responses has not been observed.