Changes in the proteasome system, a dominant actor in protein degradation in eukaryotic cells, have been documented in a large number of physiological and pathological conditions. We investigated the influence of monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) supplemented diets on the proteasome system, in rat skeletal muscles. Thirty rats were randomly assigned to three groups. The control group received only a standard diet. The monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) enriched diet group was fed with 3% sunflower oil in addition to standard food, and the polyunsaturated fatty acid supplemented diet group received 9% Maxepa) in addition to the standard diet. We analyzed muscle proteasome activities and content. Monounsaturated or PUFAs supplemented diets given for 8 weeks induced a significant increase in proteasome activities. With the polyunsaturated fatty acid enriched diet, the chymotrypsin-like and peptidylglutamylpeptide hydrolase activities increased by 45% in soleus and extensor digitorum longus (EDL), and by 90% in the gastrocnemius medialis (GM) muscle. Trypsin-like activity of the proteasome increased by 250% in soleus, EDL and GM. This increase in proteasome activities was associated with a concomitant enhancement in the muscle content of proteasome. Proteasome activities and level were less stimulated with a monounsaturated fatty acid supplemented diet. This study provides evidence that a monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acid supplemented diet may regulate muscle proteasomes. Unsaturated fatty acids are particularly prone to free radical attack. Thus, we suggest that alterations in muscle proteasome may result from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acid-induced peroxidation, in order to eliminate damaged proteins.