The objective of this study was to evaluate potential anti-atherogenic properties of hen eggs enriched naturally with conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) isomers (cis-9, trans-11 and trans-10, cis-12). Eighteen apoE and LDL receptor double-knockout mice (apoE/LDLR− / − ), at the age of 4 months with pre-established atherosclerosis, were randomly assigned to three experimental groups (n 6) and fed AIN-93G-based diets for the next 2 months. The experimental diets were: AIN-93G+ CLA-free egg-yolk powder (control); AIN-93G+ CLA-free egg-yolk powder +0·1 % CLA (CLA-supplemented eggs); and AIN-93G+ CLA-enriched egg-yolk powder, providing 0·1 % CLA (CLA-enriched eggs). For assessment of anti-atherogenic properties of CLA-enriched or CLA-supplemented eggs the following criteria were used: (1) serum lipid profile; (2) development of atherosclerosis; and (3) composition of atherosclerotic plaque. CLA-enriched eggs, compared with CLA-supplemented eggs, reduced significantly (P < 0·05) total plasma cholesterol in the mice. At the same time, both CLA-supplemented eggs and CLA-enriched eggs tended to decrease the size of atherosclerotic plaque in aortic roots of mice. Most importantly, atherosclerotic plaques of mice fed CLA-enriched eggs showed significantly (P < 0·05) reduced number of atherogenic macrophages and increased area occupied by smooth muscle cells in atherosclerotic lesions. In conclusion, CLA-enriched eggs exerted an anti-inflammatory effect more effectively than CLA-supplemented eggs. This anti-inflammatory effect can be considered their major functional claim that warrants further exploitation.