Cocaine was found to increase parainfluenza-1 Sendai virus (SV) replication in Madin Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells. Its effect was maximal when it was added before SV infection, while practically no effect was observed when cocaine was added at the time of or after infection. Enhanced SV replication was associated with increased viral protein expression. Cocaine also greatly reduced the intracellular level of glutathione (GSH), namely the most abundant cell thiol with antioxidant functions, recently proposed as an important factor influencing viral infection. Support for this view was provided in the present study by the reversal of cocaine-induced enhancement of SV replication when the intracellular content of GSH was restored by addition of exogenous GSH.