Antigen-presenting cells (APC), like dendritic cells (DC), are essential for T-cell activation, leading to immunity or tolerance. Multiple DC subsets each play a unique role in the immune response. Here, a novel splenic dendritic-like APC has been characterized in mice that has immune function and cell surface phenotype distinct from other, described DC subsets. These were identified as a cell type continuously produced in spleen long-term cultures (LTC) and have an in vivo equivalent cell type in mice, namely 'L-DC'. This study characterizes LTC-DC in terms of marker phenotype and function, and compares them with L-DC and other known splenic DC and myeloid subsets. L-DC display a myeloid dendritic-like phenotype equivalent to LTC-DC as CD11c(lo) CD11b(hi) MHC-II(-) CD8α(-) cells, distinct by high accessibility and endocytic capacity for blood-borne antigen. Both LTC-DC and L-DC have strong antigen cross-presentation ability leading to strong activation of CD8(+) T cells, particularly after exposure to lipopolysaccharide. However, they have weak ability to stimulate CD4(+) T cells in antigen-specific responses. Evidence is presented here for a novel DC type produced by in vitro haematopoiesis which has distinct antigen-presenting potential and reflects a DC subset present also in vivo in spleen.