Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-transformed B cells obtained from healthy subjects had the same idiotypes of anti-DNA autoantibodies on their surface as those obtained from patients suffering from systemic lupus erythematosus. These clones secreted anti-single-stranded or anti-double-stranded DNA antibodies. Among them, some produced anti-DNA idiotype-positive antibodies but failed to bind DNA. This was confirmed by a competitive inhibition radioimmunoassay. It was then considered whether or not the expression of anti-DNA idiotype on B-cell clones related to the anti-DNA antibody activity in vivo. The amounts of anti-DNA antibodies were not associated with the incidence of idiotype-positive B cells in the EBV-transformed cell lines from normals. The results indicate that the clones committed to the synthesis of anti-DNA idiotype-positive antibodies commonly exist at a resting state in the circulation of healthy subjects, probably through the self-tolerance regulatory system.