The relative contributions of different types of antigen presenting cells to T-cell activation, expansion and induction of effector functions are still not fully understood. In order to evaluate the roles of dendritic versus B cells during these phases of a CD4 T-cell response in vivo, we adoptively transferred major histocompatibility complex class II restricted, T-cell receptor-transgenic CD4+ T cells into transgenic mice expressing selectively the T-cell restricting class II molecules on either dendritic cells, B cells or both. Upon immunization with peptide antigen, we observed that dendritic cells were sufficient to induce activation, expansion, interleukin-2 production and germinal centre migration of antigen-specific T cells, independently of other antigen-presenting cells. In contrast, neither resting nor activated B cells had similar antigen-presenting capacities in vivo. However, in double transgenic mice where both B cells and dendritic cells were capable of presenting antigen, T cells showed increased proliferation, expansion and cytokine production in vivo. Moreover, higher antigen-specific CD4 T-cell numbers accumulated in germinal centres. Our data demonstrate that dendritic cells are sufficient to activate naive CD4 T cells in vivo, but B cells subsequently can enhance CD4 T-cell expansion further.