Dendritic cells (DC) provide an effective pathway for presenting antigens to T cells, both self-antigens during T-cell development and foreign antigens during immunity. As such, these cells may be promising adjuvants for immunotherapy. Thus, it is important to establish simple and fast method(s) to generate sufficient numbers of human DC in medium free of calf serum so that the cells can be used for both experimental and clinical purposes. In this report, we used peripheral blood adherent cells, without laborious cell purification or depletion, as the starting population and cultured them in medium supplemented with granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor and interleukin-4. Substantial numbers of cells with the phenotypical and functional characteristics of immature DC were obtained in a 7-day culture. We then compared DC cultured in medium supplemented with either fetal calf serum or pooled human ABRh+ serum and found no difference in cell yields and in their ability to stimulate alloreactive T cells or to present soluble antigens to T cells. Irradiated cells were less efficient than non-irradiated cells in antigen presentation and stimulation of T cells. Finally, we have examined DC with or without additional tumour necrosis factor-alpha treatment and found that antigen-pulsed mature cells could as efficiently present antigen to T cells as did immature cells. This method is suitable for the generation of DC in studies of large clinical materials.