Human heart-type cytoplasmic fatty acid-binding protein (HH-FABPc) has been proposed as an early biochemical indicator of acute myocardial infarction (AMI). However, skeletal muscles also contain HH-FABPc identical to that found in the heart. Before HH-FABPc can be clinically employed as an indicator of AMI, its content in various tissues other than the heart must be known. Accordingly, we measured the HH-FABPc content of various human muscles and organs, using a sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for HH-FABPc. HH-FABPc was abundant in the ventricles (0.46 mg/g wet weight and 1.5% of the cytoplasmic protein in the left ventricle), while the atria contained slightly less HH-FABPc (0.25 mg/g wet weight and 0.7% of the cytoplasmic protein in the left atrium). Of the skeletal muscles tested, the diaphragm contained about one-quarter of the HH-FABPc content of the heart, but other skeletal muscles contained very low levels of this protein. Other than the muscles, the kidneys contained less than one-tenth of the HH-FABPc in the heart, and negligible amounts were found in the liver and small intestine. The distribution of HH-FABPc in the heart and skeletal muscles was comparable to that of cardiac-specific creatine kinase (CK-MB) activity, and was inverse to the distribution of myoglobin. The plasma myoglobin/HH-FABPc ratio, determined in patients with AMI and those without AMI, closely reflected that in the heart and skeletal muscles. These findings indicate that HH-FABPc may be useful as a specific indicator of AMI, and the plasma myoglobin/HH-FABPc ratio could provide valuable information for the diagnosis of AMI.