The therapeutic potential of dendritic cells loaded with tumour antigens for the induction of effective immune responses against cancer is currently being tested in numerous clinical trials. In most cases, the dendritic cells are generated in vitro from peripheral blood monocytes. Many aspects of dendritic cell-based vaccination have not yet been examined in detail, and homologous mouse model systems may prove very valuable for optimizing clinical procedures. In the murine system, however, dendritic cells are usually isolated from either lymphoid tissues or bone marrow cultures. To date, murine monocyte-derived dendritic cells have been described only sporadically. Here, we describe a culture system for the generation of murine dendritic cells from adherent peripheral blood mononuclear cells by culturing in the presence of granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor and interleukin-4. After 7 days of culture the nonadherent cells were harvested from the cultures. Most of these cells exhibited well-accepted characteristics of mature dendritic cells (e.g. veiled appearance, high expression of major histocompatibility complex class II and CD86) and stimulated vigorous proliferation of allogeneic T cells in a primary mixed leucocyte reaction following stimulation with bacterial lipopolysaccharide. Interestingly, staining the cells for expression of the putative antigen-uptake receptor DEC-205 revealed a distinct bimodal distribution.