Ruminant fat is often perceived as having a negative impact on human health; however, the composition of the fat is under complex biochemical control and can be improved through strategic manipulation of the animal’s diet. There were two major objectives of this study, namely (i) to develop and validate a primary bovine intramuscular adipocyte cell line and (ii) to examine the effect of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) on the transcriptional regulation of Δ-9 desaturasein vitro using the novel cell line. Intramuscular adipose tissue was obtained from the Musculus longissimus thoracis of a beef heifer. Mature adipocytes were isolated and cultured, and subsequently harvested and evaluated for lipid accumulation and the expression of genes regulating key functional adipocyte protein markers at passages 10, 20 and 30. Isolated cells were shown to accumulate lipid in culture over time. Fatty acid analysis by gas chromatography was carried out at passage 30. Thirteen fatty acids ranging from tetradecanoic acid (C14:0) to the polyunsaturated fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid (C22:6), were easily detected and measured. High-quality total RNA was isolated from adipocytes and the expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ, fatty acid synthase, fatty acid-binding protein-4, adipocyte lipid-binding protein, CD36, Δ-9 desaturase, sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SREBP), microsomal triglyceride transfer protein and leptin genes were identified by reverse transcriptase-PCR and sequence analysis. Expression of the negative control, liver-specific hepatocyte nuclear factor-1alpha, was not detected. Adipocytes were subsequently incubated in medium containing 0, 50 or 100 μM EPA for 24 h. Increasing the EPA concentration of the culture media led to a linear increase in adipocyte EPA concentration (P < 0.01). Expression of Δ-9 desaturase mRNA was decreased five- and seven-fold, respectively, following 50 and 100 μM EPA incubation compared to the control. Gene expression of SREBP-1c was decreased by 6- and 18-fold in cells supplemented with 50 and 100 μM EPA, respectively, compared to the control. Regression analysis showed a negative linear relationship between EPA concentration and the gene expression of both Δ-9 desaturase (P < 0.001) and SREBP-1c (P < 0.001), while a significant positive relationship was observed between Δ-9 desaturase and SREBP-1c gene expression (P < 0.001). This is the first report demonstrating that EPA treatment of bovine intramuscular adipocyte cells decreased gene expression of both Δ-9 desaturase and SREBP-1cin vitro. The bovine adipocyte cell line developed here is an important resource for future studies facilitating less-expensive, rapid screening of research hypotheses and circumventing the limitations associated with the use of experimental animals including cost, inter-animal variation, pre-experimental management and ethics.