Dendritic cells (DCs) have important functions as modulators of immune responses, and their ability to activate T cells is of great value in cancer immunotherapy. The isolation of DCs from the peripheral blood of rhesus and African green monkeys has been reported, but the immune system in the common marmoset remains poorly characterized, although it offers many potential advantages for preclinical studies. In the present study, we devised methods, based on techniques developed for mouse and human DC preparation, for isolating DCs from three major tissue sources in the common marmoset: bone marrow (BM), spleen and peripheral blood. Each set of separated cells was analysed using the cell surface DC-associated markers CD11c, CD80, CD83, CD86 and human leucocyte antigen (HLA)-DR, all of which are antibodies against human antigens, and the cells were further characterized both functionally and morphologically as antigen-presenting cells. BM proved to be an excellent cell source for the isolation of DCs intended for preclinical studies on cell therapy, for which large quantities of cells are required. In the BM-derived CD11c(+) cell population, cells exhibiting the characteristic features of DCs were enriched, with the typical DC morphology and the abilities to undergo endocytosis, to secrete interleukin (IL)-12, and to stimulate Xenogenic T cells. Moreover, BM-derived DCs produced the neurotrophic factor NT-3, which is also found in murine splenic DCs. These results suggest that BM-derived DCs from the common marmoset may be useful for biological analysis and for preclinical studies on cell therapy for central nervous system diseases and cancer.