Madin–Darby Bovine Kidney cells cultured with 150 μm of Wy-14 643 (WY, PPARα agonist) or twelve long-chain fatty acids (LCFA; 16 : 0, 18 : 0, cis-9–18 : 1, trans-10–18 : 1, trans-11–18 : 1, 18 : 2n-6, 18 : 3n-3, cis-9, trans-11–18 : 2, trans-10, cis-12–18 : 2, 20 : 0, 20 : 5n-3 and 22 : 6n-3) were used to uncover PPAR-α target genes and determine the effects of LCFA on expression of thirty genes with key functions in lipid metabolism and inflammation. Among fifteen known PPAR-α targets in non-ruminants, ten had greater expression with WY, suggesting that they are bovine PPAR-α targets. The expression of SPP1 and LPIN3 was increased by WY, with no evidence of a similar effect in the published literature, suggesting that both represent bovine-specific PPAR-α targets. We observed the strongest effect on the expression of PPAR-α targets with 16 : 0, 18 : 0 and 20 : 5n-3.When considering the overall effect on expression of the thirty selected genes 20 : 5n-3, 16 : 0 and 18 : 0 had the greatest effect followed by 20 : 0 and c9t11–18 : 2. Gene network analysis indicated an overall increase in lipid metabolism by WY and all LCFA with a central role of PPAR-α but also additional putative transcription factors. A greater increase in the expression of inflammatory genes was observed with 16 : 0 and 18 : 0. Among LCFA, 20 : 5n-3, 16 : 0 and 18 : 0 were the most potent PPAR-α agonists. They also affected the expression of non-PPAR-α targets, eliciting an overall increase in the expression of genes related to lipid metabolism, signalling and inflammatory response. Data appear to highlight a teleological evolutionary adaptation of PPAR in ruminants to cope with the greater availability of saturated rather than unsaturated LCFA.