Dendritic cells (DC) are distinguishable from other antigen-presenting cells by their potent antigen-presenting capacity. They are not only efficient at presenting peptide antigen but can also process and present soluble protein antigens to antigen-specific T cells and cloned T cell lines. They are very strong stimulators of both allogeneic and syngeneic mixed lymphocyte reactions and have a unique capacity to stimulate naive T cells. The potent functional capacity of DC is related to a high-level expression of major histocompatibility complex class I/II molecules and constitutive expression of costimulatory molecules, such as CD80/CD86, as well as heat stable antigen, CD40 and the leucocyte function antigen (LFA) family of adhesion molecules. Recent studies have shown that DC are also involved in regulation of the immune response via induction of both central and peripheral tolerance.