Dendritic cells comprise a system of highly efficient antigen-presenting cells which initiate immune responses such as the sensitization of T cells restricted by major histocompatibility complex molecules, the rejection of organ transplants and the formation of T-cell-dependent antibodies. Dendritic cells are found in many non-lymphoid tissues, such as skin (Langerhans cells) and mucosa, and they migrate after antigen capture through the afferent lymph or the bloodstream to lymphoid organs, where they efficiently present antigen to T cells. Dendritic cells are difficult to isolate and, although they originate from bone marrow their site of maturation and the conditions that direct their growth and differentiation are still poorly characterized. Granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) favours the outgrowth of dendritic cells from mouse peripheral blood. Here we extend this finding to man and demonstrate that cooperation between GM-CSF and tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) is crucial for the generation of human dendritic/Langerhans cells from CD34+ haematopoietic progenitors. The availability of large numbers of these cells should now facilitate the understanding of their role in immunological regulation and disorder.