Patients with chronic renal failure maintained on intermittent hemodialysis have frequent infections and a suboptimal response to vaccinations. Dendritic cells are potent antigen-presenting cells essential for the initiation and maintenance of innate and adaptive immunity. In this study we used uremic sera from hemodialysis patients to measure its impact on monocyte and monocyte-derived dendritic cell function in vitro. Monocytes from healthy and uremic subjects were isolated using immunomagnetic beads and differentiated into dendritic cells in the presence of either complete sera or sera from hemodialysis patients. Dendritic cells from normal patients cultured in uremic sera had decreased endocytosis and impaired maturation. These cells, however, had enhanced IL-12p70 production and increased allogeneic T-cell proliferation compared to cells of normal subjects cultured in normal sera. Monocyte derived dendritic cells of hemodialysis patients cultured in either normal or uremic sera were functionally impaired for endocytosis and maturation but had enhanced IL-12p70 production and allogeneic T-cell proliferation only when cultured with uremic sera. High concentrations of urea in normal sera inhibited all aspects of normal dendritic cell function in vitro. Our study suggests that hemodialysis regimes tailored to remove uremic toxins more efficiently may improve immune functions of these patients.