Résumé : There is increasing evidence that dendritic cells (DC) display opposite functions in the immune system, as they may induce immunity or tolerance depending on intrinsic and environmental factors. In mice, adoptive transfer of mature DC pulsed extracorporeally with antigen induces the development of antigen-specific Th1- and Th2-type CD4(+) cells. In this work, we compared the adjuvant properties of immature (freshly isolated) and mature (cultured) splenic DC in vivo. Our data show that injection of either cell population induces the clonal expansion of CD4(+) T cells but that only mature DC trigger their differentiation into effector cells producing IFN-gamma. In contrast, transfer of immature DC provokes the development of intermediates in the differentiation process, similar to the central memory cells. These observations, together with data in the literature, suggest that DC may induce tolerance, memory, or immunity depending on their maturation state.