Bacterial DNA and its synthetic immunostimulatory oligodeoxynucleotide analogs (ISS-ODN) activate innate immunity and promote Th1 and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte immune responses. Based on these activities, we investigated whether ISS-ODN could modify the course of Mycobacterium avium infection. M. avium growth in vitro was significantly inhibited by ISS-ODN treatment of human and mouse macrophages, and M. avium growth in vivo was similarly inhibited in C57BL/6 mice treated with ISS-ODN. This protective effect of ISS-ODN was largely independent of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), interleukin 12 (IL-12), nitric oxide, NADPH oxidase, alpha/beta interferon (IFN-α/β), and IFN-γ. In contrast, we found that the induction of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) was required for the antimycobacterial effect of ISS-ODN. To evaluate the potential for synergism between ISS-ODN and other antimycobacterial agents, treatment with a combination of ISS-ODN and clarithromycin (CLA) was tested in vitro and in vivo. ISS-ODN significantly enhanced the therapeutic effect of CLA in both human and mouse macrophages and in C57BL/6 mice. This study newly identifies IDO as being involved in the antimicrobial activity of ISS-ODN and suggests the usefulness of ISS-ODN when used in combination with conventional chemotherapy for microbial infections.