Stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD) is a key enzyme that determines the composition and metabolic fate of ingested fatty acids, in particular the conversion of trans-vaccenic acid (TVA) to conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). The present study addressed the hypothesis that intestinal TVA absorption and biotransformation into CLA can be modulated by EPA and 3,10-dithia stearic acid (DSA) via altered SCD mRNA levels and desaturation indices (cis-9, trans-11-CLA:TVA and oleic acid:stearic acid ratios) in Caco-2 and T84 cells, two well-established in vitro models of the human intestinal epithelium. The study determined the effect of acute (3h with 0·3mm-EPA or 0·3mm-DSA) and acute-on-chronic (1 week with 0·03mm-EPA or -DSA, followed by respectively, 0·3mm-EPA or -DSA for 3h) treatments. In both cell lines, acute EPA treatment did not alter SCD desaturation indices, whereas the acute-on-chronic treatment affected these surrogate markers of SCD activity. This was associated with reduced sterol regulatory-element binding protein-1c and SCD mRNA levels. In contrast, acute and acute-on-chronic DSA treatments significantly reduced SCD desaturation indices without affecting SCD mRNA levels in Caco-2 cells. The present study on intestinal cells shows that the conversion rate of TVA to c9, t11-CLA is affected by other fatty acids present in the diet such as EPA, confirming previous observations in hepatic and mammary cell models.