Polymer-based, degradable microparticles (MP) are attractive delivery vehicles for vaccines as the polymer properties can be specifically tailored and the carrier can be loaded with adjuvant. For all newly developed carrier systems it is important to analyze cellular uptake efficiency and the specific effects mediated by the encapsulated agent when phagocytosed by the cells, which is barely reported so far. By the encapsulation of N-acetylmuramyl-L-alanyl-D-isoglutamine (MDP) labeled with fluoresceinisothiocyanat (FITC) in poly[(rac-lactide)-co-glycolide] (PLGA) MP, the MP was fluorescent and used to visualize the phagocytic uptake. Since encapsulated MDP can activate dendritic cells (DC) via the cytosolic nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain receptors (NOD), it can be investigated whether only cells that have phagocytosed the MP are activated or whether bystander effects occur, resulting in activation of cells, which did not take up MDP-FITC loaded MP. Here, it is demonstrated that increasing MP concentrations in the culture medium had no impact on the viability of DC and that the MP uptake efficiency was dose dependent. Interestingly, it could be shown by the CD86 expression, that only DC, which had engulfed MP, were significantly stronger activated than DC, which had not phagocytosed MDP-FITC loaded MP. On the one hand these results indicate that sufficient amounts of MDP were released from the PLGA carriers into the cytosol of the DC. On the other hand, based on the correlation of uptake and activation on the single cell level, minimal MP induced bystander effects may be expected for in vivo applications.