The effect of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) on postmenopausal bone metabolism has not been investigated. Therefore, forty-three adult ovariectomised (OVX) rats (8-9 rats per group) were fed either a control diet containing 40 g/kg soyabean oil (SBO diet) or the SBO diet with 0 (control OVX), 2.5, 5 or 10 g/kg of CLA (replacing soybean oil) for 9 weeks. A group of sham-operated (SH) rats were fed the SBO diet. OVX rats had significantly (P<0.05) lower femoral bone mineral density and macromineral concentration, and intestinal Ca absorption compared to SH rats. CLA supplementation had no effect on these parameters. Ex vivo PGE(2) biosynthesis by bone and urinary Pyr and Dpyr (markers of bone resorption) were significantly higher (P<0.001) in control OVX rats compared with SH rats, and were significantly (P<0.001) lowered by CLA supplementation with 5 and 10, but not 2.5 g/kg diet in OVX rats. In conclusion, CLA supplementation appeared to reduce the rate of bone resorption in adult OVX rats.