The bone marrow derived dendritic cell (DC) is an essential antigen presenting cell (APC) for the initiation of primary, T cell based immune responses. DC are a heterogenous haematopoietic lineage, in that many subsets from different tissues show different surface phenotypes, but the ability to stimulate antigen specific naïve T cell proliferation appears to be shared between these DC subsets. It has been suggested that the so called myeloid and lymphoid-derived subsets of DC perform distinct stimulatory or tolerogenic functions. However, recent data has blurred this apparent distinction of DC subset function and shown that both subsets are at least capable of stimulatory and possibly even tolerogenic functions. Thus, the immunoregulatory potential of DC may depend less on ontology than on recent activatory or downregulatory stimuli.