Recent studies have shown that dietary oxidised fats influence the lipid metabolism in rats by activation of PPARα. In this study, we investigated whether a mildly oxidised fat causes activation of PPARα in pigs which are non-proliferators like man. Eighteen pigs were assigned to two groups and received either a diet containing 90 g/kg of a fresh fat or the same diet with 90 g/kg of an oxidised fat prepared by heating for 24 h at 180°C in a deep fryer. Pigs fed the oxidised fat had a higher peroxisome count, a higher activity of catalase and a higher mRNA concentration of mitochondrial 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA synthase in the liver and a higher concentration of 3-hydroxybutyrate in plasma than pigs fed the fresh fat (P < 0·05). Hepatic mRNA concentrations of acyl-CoA oxidase and carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1 tended to be increased in pigs fed the oxidised fat compared to pigs fed the fresh fat (P < 0·10). Pigs fed the oxidised fat, moreover, had higher mRNA concentrations of sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SREBP)-1 and its target genes acetyl-CoA carboxylase and stearoyl-CoA desaturase in the liver and higher mRNA concentrations of SREBP-2 and its target genes 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutary-CoA reductase and LDL receptor in liver and small intestine. In conclusion, this study shows that even a mildly oxidised fat causes activation of PPARα in the liver of pigs. Up-regulation of SREBP and its target genes in liver and small intestine suggests that the oxidised fat could stimulate synthesis of cholesterol and TAG in these tissues.