The density and function of epidermal dendritic cell populations were investigated in aged C57BL/6J mice. The densities of both Langerhans cells (LC) and Thy-1+ dendritic epidermal cells were found to decrease with age. Epidermal cell suspensions from aged mice showed impaired immunologic function as assessed in vitro by the skin-lymphocyte reaction assay and by measuring the ability of epidermal cell suspensions to stimulate the proliferation of sensitized T cells in the presence of the sensitizing antigen. However, the capacity of LC to transport antigen from the skin to the draining lymph nodes was found in vivo to be comparable to that of young mice. Results of transplantation of bone marrow cells from young and old donors into irradiated recipients indicate that the decreased Langerhans cell density found in old mice may result from a deficiency in Langerhans cell bone marrow progenitors.