The influence of age and gender on uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2) expression and its relationship with leptin expression in subcutaneous adipose tissue has been studied in humans. Samples of subcutaneous adipose tissue were obtained from 41 adult subjects (20 women and 21 men), with an age range of 28 to 84 years, and body mass index (BMI) of 19 to 36 Kgm(minus sign2). UCP2 and leptin mRNA expression was determined by northern blot. In women, both leptin and UCP2 expression in the subcutaneous adipose tissue increased significantly with age (r = 0.490 p < 0.05 and r = 0.475 p < 0.05, respectively). In men, in contrast, a negative correlation was found between leptin expression and age (r = minus sign0.678 p < 0.001), while no significant correlation was apparent between UCP2 expression and age (r = minus sign0.077). In addition, there was a positive correlation between UCP2 and leptin expression in women (r = 0.656 p < 0.01). These data show important gender dependent differences in the age-related changes in leptin and UCP2 expression in subcutaneous adipose tissue in humans.