Rats and rabbits were immunized with synthetic peptides corresponding to the VH hypervariable regions of several alpha (1----3) dextran-specific antibodies from mice to study the efficacy of synthetic peptides in the generation of site-specific anti-idiotypic reagents. Synthetic peptides were made which corresponded to the HV1, HV2, and HV3 hypervariable regions of the heavy chain of M104 (IdX+, IdI-(M104)+), HV2 of HDex 14 (IdX-), and HV3 of J558 (IdX+, IdI(J558)+). The HV1(M104) peptide sequence is found in all dextran-specific immunoglobulins examined and the HV2 and the HV3 peptides span the regions implicated in IdX and IdI expression, respectively. Sera from many rabbits and rats indicate that all five peptides are immunogenic. Antisera to HV3 peptides show excellent binding to the appropriate myeloma proteins, with antisera to the HV3(M104) peptide demonstrating little binding to proteins that differ in HV3 sequence. Antisera generated against HV1(M104) and both HV2 peptides show weak cross-reaction to the appropriate proteins; however, these sera are not idiotypic because they cross-react with immunoglobulins with very limited sequence homology. Thus, it appears that some, but not all synthetic peptides from hypervariable regions will be capable of generating antisera with useful anti-idiotypic specificities. This may reflect differences in the intrinsic antigenicity of various parts of the VH region.