The induction of an immune response or tolerance is mediated by corresponding subsets of dendritic cells (DC). However, the property of tolerogenic DC is not clear. Recently, we have characterized a population of CD11c+ splenic DC derived from long-term mixed leucocyte culture (LT-MLC), which are able to proliferate upon stimulation and have a strong primary mixed leucocyte reaction (MLR)-stimulating activity in conventional MLR. In this study, we show that, in contrast to the irradiated ones, non-irradiated LT-MLC-derived DC induce polyclonal antigen-specific T-cell hyporesponsiveness when cocultured with allogeneic splenocytes for 3–11 days. The degree of the hyporesponsiveness increased with the length of coculture. Although these DC expressed major histocompatibility complex class II and B7 costimulatory molecules, which are down-regulated during coculture, they expressed very low or undetectable CD40 before and after coculture, respectively. The CD40-deficient DC spontaneously produce interleukin-10 (IL-10), but not IL-12. The skewed balance between IL-10 and IL-12 is associated with their capability to induce T-cell hyporesponsiveness, because a neutralizing antibody to IL-10, exogenous recombinant IL-12 or lipopolysaccharide (LPS) significantly blocked the hyporesponsiveness. Accordingly, infusion of a small number of non-irradiated LT-MLC-derived DC (5×105) significantly prolonged the survival of a vascularized heterotopic murine heart transplant, whereas irradiated DC accelerated graft rejection. These data suggest that CD40-deficient DC producing IL-10, but not IL-12 can induce T-cell hyporesponsiveness in vitro and in vivo.