Dendritic cells (DC) are potent stimulator cells that are crucially involved in primary T cell responses. Since DC comprise a minor population in lymphoid cell suspensions tedious and time consuming procedures are required for their preparation. This work outlines an in vitro culture system that promotes the differentiation of DC from unfractionated mouse bone marrow (BM) cells in the presence of low doses of recombinant granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF). Unlike co-induced BM-macrophages the outgrowing BM-DC express high levels of MHC class II molecules; they are negative for specific and nonspecific esterase and are nonphagocytic. A rapid one step purification procedure employing immunomagnetic bead selection yielded up to 95% BM-DC enriched cell fractions. The bead-selected BM-DC were powerful inducers of the allogeneic mixed leukocyte reaction. Thus, our findings demonstrate that low dose rGM-CSF-driven in vitro culture of BM cells provides convenient access to substantial numbers of DC and will greatly facilitate their further exploration.