Entry of human adenovirus into host cells involves interaction of virus particles with two distinct receptors. The initial binding event is mediated by the fiber protein, while subsequent interaction of the penton base protein with alpha v integrins promotes virus internalization and/or penetration. Although these interactions in epithelial and endothelial cells have been well characterized, relatively little is known as to whether these events occur during virus infection of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. We demonstrate that freshly isolated peripheral blood monocytes and T lymphocytes express very small amounts of alpha v integrins and also are resistant to adenovirus infection. Exposure of monocytes to hematopoietic growth factors granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor and macrophage colony-stimulating factor induced expression of cell surface alpha v integrins, promoted the binding of penton base protein, and also rendered these cells susceptible to adenovirus-mediated gene delivery. Stimulation of T cells with a mitogen, phytohemagglutinin, or a cell-activating agent, phorbol myristate acetate, induced expression of alpha v integrins and also enhanced adenovirus-mediated gene delivery. These studies further indicate that alpha v integrins play a crucial role in adenovirus infection and also provide a useful strategy for enhancing adenovirus-mediated gene delivery into human peripheral blood mononuclear cells.