Dendritic cells uniquely orchestrate the delicate balance between T cell immunity and regulation and an imbalance favoring immunogenic rather than tolerogenic DC is believed to contribute to the development of autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes (T1D). In this study, we determined the frequencies of three blood DC subsets (pDC, mDC1 and mDC2) in 72 T1D patients and 75 normal controls using the Miltenyi blood DC enumeration kit. The frequency of blood pDC was found to be negatively correlated with subject age in both normal controls and T1D patients (p=0.0007), while the frequency of mDC1 and mDC2 do not change significantly with subject age. More importantly, the mean frequency of pDC in blood was, after adjusting for age, significantly lower in T1D (mean=0.127%) than controls (mean=0.188%) (p<6.0 x 10(-5)), whereas no difference was observed for mDC1 and mDC2 between T1D and controls. Furthermore, T1D patients have a lower proportion of pDC and higher proportion of mDC1 among the total blood DC population than normal controls. These results indicate that the frequency of blood pDC and the pDC/mDC1 ratio are negatively associated with T1D.