Conjugated dienoic derivatives of linoleic acid (CLA) is a collective term for positional and geometric isomers of linoleic acid that occur naturally in foods. The two predominant isomers of CLA are the c9,t11 and t10,c12. One of the effects of CLA is to modify membrane fatty acid composition by decreasing the activity of stearoyl-CoA desaturase enzyme activity. We analyzed the changes of stearoyl-CoA desaturase gene 1 (scd1) mRNA to further define the mechanism for the decrease in Scd enzyme activity by CLA. Mice fed for two weeks with either a fat-free high carbohydrate diet (CHO) or a 5.0% corn oil diet (CO), supplemented with 0.5% CLA had a 45% and 75% decrease respectively, in scd1 mRNA levels in the liver. Consistent with the effects observed in mice, 150 microM CLA suppressed the expression of scd1 mRNA in the H2.35 mouse liver cells by 60%. Further studies with enzymatically prepared c9,t11 isomer showed that the inhibitory effect of CLA on scd1 mRNA expression in H2.35 liver cells was by isomers other than the c9,t11-CLA.