We have recently reported the induction of experimental systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in mice by a human anti‐DNA monoclonal antibody (mAb) that bears a common idiotype, the 16/6 Id. In the present report we investigated the role of the idiotypic network in the induction of experimental SLE by using a murine anti‐idiotypic mAb specific for the 16/6 Id. This anti‐idiotypic mAb induced experimental SLE similarly to the 16/6 Id. Thus, following immunization, in addition to 16/6 Id+ antibodies, the mice produced antibodies to various nuclear antigens: single‐stranded DNA, double‐stranded DNA, poly(I), poly(G), Ro, La, Sm and ribonucleoproteins. Similarly to the 16/6 Id‐immunized mice, the mice injected with the anti‐16/6 Id mAb exhibited elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate and leukopenia. The murine anti‐16/6 Id mAb was found to be more effective than the 16/6 Id, in causing earlier onset of proteinuria and renal damage. These results suggest that the idiotypic network and particularly anti‐idiotypic antibodies specific for anti‐DNA common idiotypes found in SLE, play an important role in the induction of SLE in mice.