Immunization with myelin antigens leads to the development of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, an animal model of multiple sclerosis. The disease can also be induced by the transfer of encephalitogenic CD4+ T helper (T(H)) lymphocytes into naive mice. These T cells need to re-encounter their cognate antigen in the context of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II-bearing antigen-presenting cells (APCs) in order to recognize their target. The cell type and location of the APC mediating T-cell entry into the central nervous system (CNS) remain unknown. Here, we show that APCs of the lymphoreticular system and of the CNS parenchyma are dispensable for the immune invasion of the CNS. We also describe that a discrete population of vessel-associated dendritic cells (DCs) is present in human brain tissue. In mice, CD11c+ DCs alone are sufficient to present antigen in vivo to primed myelin-reactive T cells in order to mediate CNS inflammation and clinical disease development.