The present study compared the replication of bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV) in bovine and ovine peripheral blood mononuclear cells, ovine and bovine monocytic cell lines and ovine alveolar macrophages. Low titres of virus were detected in ovine and bovine lymphocytes and monocytes 24-96 h post-exposure to the virus but there was no apparent replication of the virus in ovine alveolar macrophages during the culture period. The virus replicated to higher but statistically insignificant titres in ovine and bovine peripheral blood monocytes than in lymphocytes, with lymphocytes yielding peak titres significantly earlier. The secondary cell lines obtained from ovine liver and bone marrow also supported the replication of BRSV to high titres. The titres of BRSV in ovine and bovine lymphocytes and monocytes were significantly lower than in secondary cell lines. The addition of human recombinant tumour necrosis factor alpha after exposure to the virus or preincubation of ovine or bovine monocytic cells with either human recombinant interleukin 2 or phorbol myristate acetate before exposure to BRSV, did not significantly affect virus titre. Preincubation of cells with indomethacin or actinomycin significantly lowered virus titre (p<0.05). (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B..