Abstract Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) consists of a series of positional and geometric dienoic isomers of linoleic acid that occur naturally in foods. CLA exhibits antioxidant activity in vitro and in vivo. To assess the effect of CLA on atherosclerosis, 12 rabbits were fed a semi-synthetic diet containing 14% fat and 0.1 % cholesterol for 22 weeks. For 6 of these rabbits, the diet was augmented with CLA (0.5 g CLA/rabbit per day). Blood samples were taken monthly for lipid analysis. By 12 weeks total and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides were markedly lower in the CLA-fed group. Interestingly, the LDL cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio and total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio were significantly reduced in CLA-fed rabbits. Examination of the aortas of CLA-fed rabbits showed less atherosclerosis.