In chicken, adiposity is influenced by hepatic stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD) 1. This gene is up-regulated by low-fat high-carbohydrate diet and down-regulated by addition of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). In this study, we present evidence for an inhibition of chicken SCD1 expression by PUFA using reporter gene constructs in transient transfection assays. This inhibition does not involve the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor pathway, in contrast with what has been observed in rodents. We were able to localise a PUFA as well as an insulin response element within the -372/+125 bp region of the promoter. Sequence analyses of this region allowed identification of several cis-regulatory elements: A sterol regulatory element (SRE) and a juxtaposed NF-Y element which have been shown to be involved in the regulation of mouse SCD genes by PUFA. In addition, we identified an overlapping Sp1/USF motif, which was described to play a role in insulin/glucose and PUFA regulation of fatty synthase, ATP-citrate-lyase, and leptin genes. These data provide the first characterisation of the chicken SCD1 promoter and putative cis-sequences involved in the regulation of this gene by PUFA and insulin.