Anti-idiotypic MAb were raised in syngeneic mice against a mouse MAb recognizing GD3 ganglioside (MAb R24). Two anti-idiotypic MAb, designated BEC2 and BEC3, recognized distinct determinants on MAb R24 that mapped near or within the GD3-binding site. New Zealand white rabbits, which express GD3 on normal tissues, were immunized with either BEC2, BEC3, or control MAb FLOPC-21. All rabbits developed high and equivalent titers of antibodies against mouse immunoglobulins. Immunization with BEC2 and BEC3 induced rabbit antibodies expressing R24 idiotype as demonstrated by their ability to inhibit BEC2 binding to R24. Antibodies (IgG and IgM) reacting with GD3 developed in five of eight rabbits immunized with BEC2 but not in rabbits immunized with BEC3 or with control MAb. Serum antibodies against GD3 did not cross-react with other gangliosides. These results show that MAb BEC2 can mimic GD3 ganglioside and can induce antibodies against GD3 ganglioside despite expression of GD3 on normal rabbit tissue.