Abstract The effects of human adenoviruses on the granulocyte-mediated natural cytotoxicity of chicken leukocytes were investigated. A significant, but transient augmentation of granulocyte cytotoxicity was observed 24 h after virus injection, followed by a relatively long period of its suppression. A good correlation was found between the augmented cytotoxicity and interferon induction. The interferon-inducing capacity of adenovirus type 6 and type 12 in vitro similarly ran parallel with their ability to stimulate granulocyte-mediated Cytotoxicity. An adenovirus-induced elevation of cytotoxicity was not observed when IFN production was inhibited by pretreatment of the leukocytes with monoclonal antibody specific for bursal cells and monocytes. In addition, anti-IFN antibody abrogated the stimulation of cytotoxicity as well. During the in vitro experiments in which granulocyte-specific monoclonal antibody was applied, evidence was found that the effector cell activity is associated with the granulocytes. These results suggest that both the in vitro and the in vivo adenovirus-induced augmentation of granulocyte-mediated cytotoxicity is due to the IFN-inducing capacity of the virus. In chickens, the rapid augmentation of the granulocyte cytotoxicity may be important in the acute stage of infection, increasing the resistance to the virus in question and also to bacterial infections.