Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) play essential roles in directing immune responses. These cells may be particularly important in determining the nature of immune responses to viral infections in patients with allergic asthma as well those with other atopic diseases. The purposes of this study were 1) to compare the functional capacity of pDCs in patients with one type of allergic disorder, allergic asthma, and controls; 2) to determine whether IgE cross-linking affects antiviral responses of influenza-exposed pDCs; and 3) to determine whether evidence of counterregulation of FcεRIα and IFN-α pathways exists in these cells. pDC function was assessed in a subset of asthma patients and in controls by measuring IFN-α production after exposure of purified pDCs to influenza viruses. FcεRIα expression on pDCs was determined by flow cytometry in blood samples from patients with allergic asthma and controls. pDCs from patients with asthma secreted significantly less IFN-α upon exposure to influenza A (572 versus 2815; p = 0.03), and secretion was inversely correlated with serum IgE levels. Moreover, IgE cross-linking prior to viral challenge resulted in 1) abrogation of the influenza-induced pDC IFN-α response; 2) diminished influenza and gardiquimod-induced TLR-7 upregulation in pDCs; and 3) interruption of influenza-induced upregulation of pDC maturation/costimulatory molecules. In addition, exposure to influenza and gardiquimod resulted in upregulation of TLR-7, with concomitant downregulation of FcεRIα expression in pDCs. These data suggest that counterregulation of FcεRI and TLR-7 pathways exists in pDCs, and that IgE cross-linking impairs pDC antiviral responses.