The effect of ATP/ADP-antiporter inhibitors on palmitate-induced uncoupling was studied in heart muscle mitochondria and inside-out submitochondrial particles. In both systems palmitate is found to decrease the respiration-generated membrane potential. In mitochondria, this effect is specifically abolished by carboxyatractylate (CAtr) a non-penetrating inhibitor of antiporter. In submitochondrial particles, CAtr does not abolish the palmitate-induced potential decrease. At the same time, bongkrekic acid, a penetrating inhibitor of the antiporter, suppresses the palmitate effect on the potential both in mitochondria and particles. Palmitoyl-CoA which is known to inhibit the antiporter in mitochondria as well as in particles decreases the palmitate uncoupling efficiency in both these systems. These data are in agreement with the hypothesis that the ATP/ADP-antiporter is involved in the action of free fatty acids as natural uncouplers of oxidative phosphorylation.