The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of ultraviolet (UV) radiation on the antimicrobial activities of monocytes for the intracellular pathogen Mycobacterium avium intracellulare (MAI). UV radiation augmented monocyte antimicrobial activity for MAI in a dose-dependent fashion. UVB doses of ≥ 25 J/m2 resulted in a 50-100-fold reduction in MAI growth 7 d after initiation of culture. The increased monocyte antibacterial effect could be blocked by a plate glass filter, indicating that wavelengths within the UVB were responsible for the effect. UV radiation did not stimulate monocyte phagocytosis, and enhanced inhibition of MAI growth was observed in populations of adherent mononuclear cells that were devoid of T cells. This suggested that UV radiation acted directly to augment intrinsic monocyte antimicrobial activities. The administration of 8-methoxypsoralen plus UVA radiation to monocytes also augmented their antimicrobial activities against MAI. UV radiation thus may serve as a unique agent by which to evaluate the mechanisms by which mononuclear phagocytes control the growth of MAI.