Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) has been shown to positively influence calcium and bone metabolism. Earlier, we showed that CLA (equal mixture of c9t11-CLA and t10c12-CLA) could protect age-associated bone loss by modulating inflammatory markers and osteoclastogenesis. Since, c9t11-CLA and t10c12-CLA isomers differentially regulate functional parameters and gene expression in different cell types, we examined the efficacy of individual CLA isomers against age-associated bone loss using 12 months old C57BL/6 female mice fed for 6 months with 10% corn oil (CO), 9.5% CO+0.5% c9t11-CLA, 9.5% CO+0.5% t10c12-CLA or 9.5% CO+0.25% c9t11-CLA+0.25% t10c12-CLA. Mice fed a t10c12-CLA diet maintained a significantly higher bone mineral density (BMD) in femoral, tibial and lumbar regions than those fed CO and c9t11-CLA diets as measured by dual-energy-X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). The increased BMD was accompanied by a decreased production of osteoclastogenic factors, that is, RANKL, TRAP5b, TNF-alpha and IL-6 in serum. Moreover, a significant reduction of high fat diet-induced bone marrow adiposity was observed in t10c12-CLA fed mice as compared to that of CO and c9t11-CLA fed mice, as measured by Oil-Red-O staining of bone marrow sections. In addition, a significant reduction of osteoclast differentiation and bone resorbing pit formation was observed in t10c12-CLA treated RAW 264.7 cell culture stimulated with RANKL as compared to that of c9t11-CLA and linoleic acid treated cultures. In conclusion, these findings suggest that t10c12-CLA is the most potent CLA isomer and it exerts its anti-osteoporotic effect by modulating osteoclastogenesis and bone marrow adiposity. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.