Dendritic cells (DCs) are responsible for antigen uptake, presentation, and stimulation of T cells responsible for recognizing these antigens. During the immature stage DCs endocytose fluids and particles from the surrounding interstitial environment, such as the skin, deeper organs, and mucous membranes. Maturity is reached after antigen uptake stimulates the loading of foreign peptides on their major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC II) molecules, which then are expressed on the cell surface. DCs cease antigen uptake and presentation at some point after the uptake of a maturation stimulus (antigen); at this point the DC is fully mature. It has been estimated that these cells have a 24 hour maturation period. However, recent experiments suggest that this period is longer than 24 hours.
Reeves, Sarah, "Examination of Estimated 24 Hour Period of Dendritic Cell Maturation" (2003). Senior Research Projects. 49.