The effects of gamma-irradiation on the differentiation of peripheral blood monocytes (PBM) into monocyte derived dendritic cells (MDC), their maturation, and subsequent ability to present antigen to T cells was studied. Undifferentiated MDC were more sensitive to gamma-irradiation induced apoptosis than mature MDC. Irradiation of immature MDC with 5 Gy of gamma-rays down regulated the expression of the costimulatory receptors CD80/CD86 and may compromise their ability to capture and present antigen. By contrast, gamma-Irradiation of mature MDC did not affect the expression of CD86/CD80, and HLA-DR. Gamma-irradiation increased the apoptosis of MDC; but did not affect the ability of mMDC to stimulate autologous MLR. T cell proliferative response in the MLR and in response to tetanus antigen was reduced when gamma-irradiated primary DC1 were used to either stimulate or present antigen to T cells.