We have measured growth of West Nile virus in mouse primary peritoneal macrophages (resident, thioglycolate elicited, and Mycobacterium bovis BCG activated) and in macrophagelike (P338D1) and nonmacrophage (L929, PS clone D) cell lines infected in the absence or presence of specific antibodies (immunoglobulin G ([IgG], IgM), and complement. Monoclonal antibodies directed against Fc receptors (IgG1/2b, 2.4G2) and type 3 complement receptors (Mac-1) were used to define the role of each receptor. Virus yield depended on a balance between enhancement and neutralization and was influenced by the physiologic state of the macrophage, the receptor pathway of viral entry, the mouse strain and age of donor. BCG-activated macrophages displayed a greater ability to restrict West Nile virus than nonactivated cells only in the presence of antiviral IgM, with or without complement; the Fc receptors for various classes of IgG mediated striking enhancement. These studies identify some of the complex innate and acquired factors that determine the interaction between West Nile virus and primary macrophages in vitro.