In this study we evaluated the ability of activated intrahepatic APCs to inhibit hepatitis B virus (HBV) replication in transgenic mice. Intrahepatic APCs were activated by administration of an anti-CD40 agonistic mAb (alphaCD40). We showed that a single i.v. injection of alphaCD40 was sufficient to inhibit HBV replication noncytopathically by a process associated with the recruitment of dendritic cells, macrophages, T cells, and NK cells into the liver and the induction of inflammatory cytokines. The antiviral effect depended on the production of IL-12 and TNF-alpha by activated APCs; however, it was mediated primarily by IFN-gamma produced by NK cells, and possibly T cells, that were activated by IL-12. Collectively, these results suggest that activated APCs can directly produce antiviral cytokines (IL-12, TNF-alpha) and trigger the production of other cytokines (i.e., IFN-gamma) by other cells (e.g., NK cells and T cells) that do not express CD40. These results provide insight into a hitherto unsuspected antiviral function of intrahepatic APCs, and they suggest that therapeutic activation of APCs may represent a new strategy for the treatment of chronic HBV infection.