Langerhans' cells (LC) and dermal dendritic cells (dDC) are located in the superficial and deeper layers of the skin respectively and represent the main dendritic cell (DC) populations of the skin. LC-like and dDC-like DC can be generated from CD34 stem cells and this system is widely used as a model for investigating these cells and in therapeutic vaccination. Here we report toll-like receptor (TLR) expression in human LC and dDC derived from CD34 stem cells. In vitro-generated DC expressed TLR-1, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10. LC, but not dDC, expressed TLR-5, whereas only dDC expressed TLR-3. Maturation of LC was mediated by TLR-2, 4 and 5 ligands, but not by a TLR-3 ligand. dDC maturation was induced by TLR-3 and -4, but not with TLR-5 ligand and only weakly by a TLR-2 ligand. Stimulated LC secreted interleukin (IL)-1beta, low levels of tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and IL-8, but not IL-6 or IL-10. dDC secreted TNF-alpha, IL-6, IL-8 and IL-10, but little IL-1beta. IL-12p70 was not produced by ligand-stimulated dDC or LC, but was secreted by monocyte-derived DC (mdDC) stimulated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Thus, in vitro-generated LC and dDC detect different pathogen-associated molecules and show different cytokine-secretion profiles in response to TLR ligands.