Fatty acid transporter protein (FATP)-1 mRNA expression was investigated in skeletal muscle and in subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue of 17 healthy lean, 13 nondiabetic obese, and 16 obese type 2 diabetic subjects. In muscle, FATP-1 mRNA levels were higher in lean women than in lean men (2.2 +/- 0.1 vs. 0.6 +/- 0.2 amol/microg total RNA, P < 0.01). FATP-1 mRNA expression was decreased in skeletal muscle in obese women both in nondiabetic and in type 2 diabetic patients (P < 0.02 vs. lean women in both groups), and in all women there was a negative correlation with basal FATP-1 mRNA level and body mass index (r = -0.74, P < 0.02). In men, FATP-1 mRNA was expressed at similar levels in the three groups both in skeletal muscle (0.6 +/- 0.2, 0.6 +/- 0.2, and 0.8 +/- 0.2 amol/microg total RNA in lean, obese, and type 2 diabetic male subjects) and in adipose tissue (0.9 +/- 0.2 amol/microg total RNA in the 3 groups). Insulin infusion (3 h) reduced FATP-1 mRNA levels in muscle in lean women but not in lean men. Insulin did not affect FATP-1 mRNA expression in skeletal muscle in obese nondiabetic or in type 2 diabetic subjects nor in subcutaneous adipose tissue in any of the three groups. These data show a gender-related difference in the expression of the fatty acid transporter FATP-1 in skeletal muscle of lean individuals and suggest that changes in FATP-1 expression may not contribute to a large extent to the alterations in fatty acid uptake in obesity and/or type 2 diabetes.