Dendritic cells (DC) are sentinels of immunity. We determined their role in the induction of immunity against alveolar echinococcosis, caused by the larval stage of the cestode Echinococcus multilocularis. Furthermore, we evaluated if unfractionated protein from E. multilocularis (Em-Ag) can be used as loading agent for DC (comparable to unfractionated tumour proteins) in order to generate antiparasitic cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL). Interestingly, immature DC did not mature in the presence of 1 µg/ml Em-Ag as analysed by FACS and mixed leucocyte reactions. Yet, their capacity to take up dextran was markedly reduced. Further maturation of immature Em-Ag pulsed DC could be induced by proinflammatory cytokines. These mature DC were slightly better inducers of T cell proliferation when compared with unpulsed mature DC. Importantly, by repetetive stimulation of autologous CD8+ lymphocytes with the Em-Ag pulsed mature DC, we were able to generate specifically proliferating CTL lines. Thus, immunotherapy with ex vivo generated Em-Ag pulsed DC might be of benefit for patients inheriting this incurable disease.