Indirect comparisons from studies in vivo have suggested that caprine mammary tissue is less sensitive than bovine mammary tissue to the anti-lipogenic effect of long-chain fatty acids (LCFA), including specific rumen biohydrogenation (RBH) intermediates of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Our objective was to investigate the effects on lipogenesis of 18-carbon LCFA differing in the degree of unsaturation and/or double bond conformation using cultured slices of bovine and caprine mammary tissues. Mammary tissues were collected from five multiparous Holstein × Normande cows and six multiparous Alpine goats in mid lactation. The expression of genes involved in milk component synthesis was measured in tissues collected at slaughter and after slice preparation: FASN, SCD1, CD36, SREBF1 and PPARG1 mRNA levels were higher in bovine than caprine samples, whereas the opposite was observed for CSN2 mRNA levels. Bovine and caprine mammary slices were incubated for 20 h in a medium with BSA (control), cis-9-18 : 1, 18 : 2n-6, 18 : 3n-3, cis-9, trans-11-CLA, or trans-10, cis-12-CLA (the latter at 3 increasing concentrations: C1 (0·11 mm), C2 (0·16 mm), C3 (0·37 mm)). Lipogenesis was estimated by measuring the incorporation of 14C-acetate into total lipid. Significant differences of individual LCFA (P < 0·05) were observed between species: bovine tissue showed a decrease in total lipogenesis with 18 : 2n-6, 18 : 3n-3, trans-10,cis-12-CLA (C2 and C3) while caprine tissue showed an increase after treatment with 18 : 3n-3, cis-9, trans-11-CLA or trans-10, cis-12-CLA (C3). These results were not related to the mRNA abundance of our set of genes in the mammary slices after incubation. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that caprine mammary slices reacted differently from bovine mammary slices to the anti-lipogenic activity of specific LCFA and suggests that regulation of lipogenesis via other genes and/or at protein level and enzyme activity may be involved.