The trans-10, cis-12 (10e12z) conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) isomer of CLA is responsible for loss of lipid storage or adipose tissue in vitro or in vivo. This isomer also induces inflammatory signaling in both mouse and human adipocytes in vitro. However, when these events occur and whether they are significant enough to affect other cell types are unclear. In these experiments, the 3T3-L1 cell line has been used to examine the interaction between inflammatory signaling and decreased differentiation or lipid storage induced by 10e12z CLA. In assays measuring both lipid accumulation and gene expression, differentiating 3T3-L1 cells exhibit concurrent induction of inflammatory signaling, as measured by cyclooxygenase-2 expression, and a decrease in adipocyte marker gene expression. Furthermore, in fully differentiated adipocytes, as identified in microarray assays and confirmed with real-time polymerase chain reaction, 10e12z CLA also significantly affected expression of both matrix metalloprotein-3 (MMP-3), collagen VI α 3 ColVI alpha 3 (VIα3) and the cytokine epiregulin, demonstrating that the effects of 10e12z broadly impact adipocyte function. In agreement with other experimental systems, 10e12z CLA inhibited RAW 264.7 cell proliferation; however, in response to adipocyte-conditioned media, 10e12z-CLA-treated adipocytes induced proliferation of this cell line, suggesting that the effect of 10e12z CLA is context dependent. These results are largely consistent with the known activation of the inflammatory mediator nuclear factor-κB in adipocytes in vitro and in vivo by 10e12z CLA treatment and demonstrate that adipose is an important target tissue of this isomer that impacts other cell types.