We recently reported a heretofore unknown role for the aryl hydrocarbon receptor in host resistance to listeriosis in mice. Hepatocytes are an important site for Listeria monocytogenes multiplication in vivo. In this study, we investigated whether activation of AhR in TIB73 murine embryonic hepatocytes affects the ingestion and intracellular multiplication of L. monocytogenes. Treatment of TIB73 cells with the AhR agonist β-naphthoflavone (BNF) significantly inhibited the ingestion and intracellular growth of L. monocytogenes. The inhibitory effects of BNF were dose-dependent and correlated with up-regulation of CYP1A1. Surprisingly, pretreatment with AhR antagonists (3′-MNF or α-naphthoflavone) or knocking-down of AhR with siRNA did not abolish the inhibitory effects of BNF. Moreover, the inhibitory effects of BNF on invasion and intracellular growth of L. monocytogenes by BNF were observed in AhR-deficient (CRL-2710), or ARNT-dysfunctional (CRL-2717) Hepa cells. We also observed similar inhibitory effects of BNF treatment using primary hepatocytes recovered from AhR+/- or AhR-/- mice. Moreover, the prototypic AhR agonist 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) did not inhibit the invasion and intracellular growth of L. monocytogenes in TIB73 cells. Mechanistic studies demonstrated that ROS, but not TNF-α or iNOS, plays an important role in mediating BNF-induced inhibition. In conclusion, BNF caused an AhR-independent inhibition of ingestion and intracellular multiplication of L. monocytogenes in murine hepatocytes, mediated in part by production of ROS. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.