Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies directed toward myeloperoxidase or proteinase 3 are detected in sera of patients with small vessel vasculitis and participate in the pathogenesis of this disease. Autoantibodies develop when self-reactive B cells escape the regulation that ensures self-tolerance. In this study, regulation of anti-myeloperoxidase B cells was examined in mice that express an antimyeloperoxidase Vκ1C-Jκ5 light-chain transgene, which confers anti-myeloperoxidase specificity when combined with a variety of heavy chains. Vκ1C-Jκ5 transgenic mice have splenic anti-myeloperoxidase B cells but do not produce circulating anti-myeloperoxidase antibodies. Two groups of transgenic mice that differed by their relative dosage of the transgene were compared; high-copy mice had a mean relative transgene dosage of 1.92 compared with 1.02 in the low-copy mice. These mice exhibited a 90 and 60% decrease in mature follicular B cells, respectively. High-copy mice were characterized by a large population of anti-myeloperoxidase B cells, a preponderance of B-1 cells, and an increased percentage of apoptotic myeloperoxidase-binding B cells. Low-copy mice had similar changes in B cell phenotype with the exception of an expanded marginal zone population. B cells from low-copy mice but not high-copy mice produced anti-myeloperoxidase antibodies after stimulation with lipopolysaccharide. These results indicate that tolerance to myeloperoxidase is maintained by central and peripheral deletion and that some myeloperoxidase-binding B cells are positively selected into the marginal zone and B-1 B cell subsets. A defect in these regulatory pathways could result in autoimmune disease.