Background/aims: Dendritic cells (DCs) act as a portal for virus invasion as well as potent antigen-presenting cells (APCs) involved in the antiviral host response. Interferons (IFNs) are produced in response to bacterial and viral infection and activate innate immune responses to efficiently counteract and remove pathogenic invaders. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) could inhibit IFN-mediated signaling pathway in epithelial cells; however, the effects of RSV on IFN signaling in the dendritic cells (DCs) are still unknown. Methods: Mouse bone marrow derived DCs (BMDCs) were mock or infected with RSV at different multiplicity of infection (MOI) for 24. h, and then treated with different cytokines such as interferon-β (IFN-β), IFN-γ or interleukin-10 (IL-10). The mRNA expression of RSV nonstructural protein-1 (NS-1) and NS-2 was detected by RT-PCR. The expression of Janus family kinase-signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK/STAT) signaling proteins was assessed by immunoblotting assays. The nuclear localization of specific signaling proteins was determined by immunofluorescence assay. Results: Increasing amounts of NS-1 or NS-2 mRNA expression in BMDCs were observed with infected RSV at increasing MOI, suggesting BMDCs were permissive for viral gene expression. Further examination of the IFN-β signaling cascade showed RSV infection increased the total cellular levels of STAT1 and STAT2 in BMDCs, but impaired the IFN-β-dependent phosphorylation and nuclear localization of STAT1 and STAT2. The inhibitory effects of RSV on STAT1 and STAT2 phosphorylation and translocation were abolished by UV inactivation. In contrast, RSV did not inhibit the IFN-γ-stimulated STAT1 phosphorylation and nuclear localization. IL-10-stimulated STAT3 phosphorylation was also unaffected by RSV. Conclusions: As well as RSV inhibiting STAT protein levels through degradation mechanisms in epithelial cells, these findings demonstrate that RSV also can specifically inhibit the type I interferon response in BMDCs through regulation of STAT1 and STAT2 phosphorylation and nuclear translocation. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.