We compared the fatty acid composition of adipose tissue from three different sites, one deep-seated site (perirenal) and two subcutaneous sites (abdominal and buttock), in 143 autopsied adult humans aged 24-61 y. The proportion of saturated fatty acids was highest in the perirenal adipose tissue and lowest in buttock adipose tissue. The proportions of monounsaturated fatty acids in the three sites were in the reverse order. Linoleic and linolenic acids were similar in the three adipose-tissue sites, an important finding for those concerned about the essential fatty acids, which are solely derived from the diet. The results clearly show that the fatty acid composition of the two subcutaneous fat depots differ significantly. We conclude that abdominal fat is more saturated than buttock fat.