The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of lactation and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) supplementation on adipocyte sizes of subcutaneous (s.c.) and visceral (VC) fat depots in primiparous dairy cows during the first 105 d in milk (DIM). German Holstein heifers (n=25) were divided into a control (CON) and a CLA group. From 1 DIM until sample collection, CLA cows were fed 100g of CLA supplement/d (about 6% of c9,t11 and t10,c12 isomers each), whereas the CON cows received 100g of fatty acid mixture/d instead of CLA. The CON cows (n=5 each) were slaughtered at 1, 42, and 105 DIM, and the CLA cows (n=5 each) were slaughtered at 42 and 105 DIM. Adipose tissues from 3s.c. depots (tailhead, withers, and sternum) and from 3 VC depots (omental, mesenteric, and retroperitoneal) were sampled. Hematoxylin-eosin staining was done to measure adipocyte area (μm(2)). Retroperitoneal adipocyte sizes were mostly larger than adipocytes from the other sites, independent of lactation time and treatment. Significant changes related to duration of lactation were limited to retroperitoneal fat: adipocyte sizes were significantly smaller at 105 DIM than at 1 DIM in CON cows. Adipocyte sizes were decreased in s.c. depots from the tailhead at 105 DIM and from the sternum at 42 DIM in CLA versus CON cows, whereas for VC depots, adipocyte sizes were decreased in mesenteric fat at 42 and 105 DIM, and in omental and retroperitoneal fat, at 105 DIM in CLA versus CON cows. Within the CLA group, adipocyte sizes were smaller in the s.c. depot from the tailhead at 105 DIM than at 42 DIM. Adipocyte sizes and depot weights were significantly correlated in s.c. depots (r=0.795) in the CLA group and in retroperitoneal fat both in the CON (r=0.698) and the CLA (r=0.723) group. In conclusion, CLA-induced decreases in adipocyte size indicate lipolytic or antilipogenic effects of CLA, or both effects, on adipose tissue in primiparous dairy cows.