Limited availability of the n-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA have led to an interest in better understanding of the n-3 biosynthetic pathway and its regulation. The biosynthesis of alpha-linolenic acid to EPA and DHA involves several complex reaction steps including desaturation-, elongation- and peroxisomal beta-oxidation enzymes. The aims of the present experiments were to gain more knowledge on how this biosynthesis is regulated over time by different doses and fatty acid combinations. Hepatocytes isolated from salmon were incubated with various levels and combinations of oleic acid, EPA and DHA. Oleic acid led to a higher expression of the Δ6 fatty acid desaturase (fad) genes Δ6fad_a, Δ6fad_b, Δ6fad_c and the elongase genes elovl2 compared with cells cultured in medium enriched with DHA. Further, the study showed rhythmic variations in expression over time. Levels were reached where a further increase in specific fatty acids given to the cells not stimulated the conversion further. The gene expression of Δ6fad_a_and Δ6fad_b responded similar to fatty acid treatment, suggesting a co-regulation of these genes, whereas Δ5fad and Δ6fad_c showed a different regulation pattern. EPA and DHA induced different gene expression patterns, especially of Δ6fad_a. Addition of radiolabelled alpha-linolenic acid to the hepatocytes confirmed a higher degree of elongation and desaturation in cells treated with oleic acid compared to cells treated with DHA. This study suggests a complex regulation of the conversion process of n-3 fatty acids. Several factors, such as that the various gene copies are differently regulated, the gene expression show rhythmic variations and gene expression only affected to a certain level, determines when you get the maximum conversion of the beneficial n-3 fatty acids.