We had previously hypothesized that linoleic acid (LA) was essential for development of alcoholic induced liver injury in our rat model. Male Wistar rats were fed a nutritionally adequate diet (25% calories as fat) with ethanol (8-17 g/kg/day). The source of fat was tallow (0.7% LA), lard (2.5% LA) or tallow supplemented with linoleic acid (2.5%). Liver damage was followed monthly by obtaining blood for alanine aminotransferase assay and liver biopsy for assessment of morphologic changes. Enzyme and histologic changes (fatty liver, necrosis and inflammation) in the tallow-linoleic acid-ethanol fed animals were more severe than in the lard-ethanol group. The tallow ethanol group did not show any evidence of liver injury. Our results strongly support our hypothesis that LA is essential for development of alcoholic liver disease in our rat model.