Rob Boer, Alan Perelson, Gérard Weisbuch

Paper #: 90-027

The present paper investigates conditions under which immunological memory can be maintained by stimulatory idiotypic network interactions. The paper was motivated by the work of (De Boer & Hogeweg, 1989b, Bull Math. Biol. 51, 381-408.) which claimed that idiotypic memory is not possible because of percolation within the network. Here we reinvestigate the issue of percolation using both the previous model and a simpler one (Weisbuch, 1990, J. Theor. Biol. 143, 507-522.) that allows analytic analysis. We focus on network topologies in which each Ab1 is connected to several Ab2s, which in turn are connected to several Ab3s. It is demonstrated that, for a considerable range of parameters, both models account for the existence of localized memory-states in which only the Ab1 and the Ab2 clones are activated and the clones of the Ab3 level remain virgin. The existence of localized memory-states seems to contradict the previous percolation result. This discrepancy will be shown to depend on the system dynamics. By simulation we explore the parameter regimes for which one finds percolation and those for which localized memory-states exists. We show that the conditions required for attaining the localized memory state are considerably more stringent than those required for its existence and local stability. We conclude that both localized memory and percolation are possible in stimulatory idiotypic networks.