These studies were conducted to determine whether there are gender-specific regional differences in meal triglyceride fatty acid uptake. Systemic and regional oleate ([3H]oleate) kinetics were measured in nine nonobese men and eight nonobese women before and at the end of a 6-h meal, administered as small frequent feedings to achieve steady-state chylomicronemia. Chylomicron uptake in the splanchnic bed accounted for 71 +/- 15% of meal triglyceride disappearance in men and 20 +/- 7% in women (P < 0.01), whereas leg chylomicron uptake could only account for 12 +/- 2 and 8 +/- 4% (P not significant in men vs. women) of meal triglyceride disappearance. Meal ingestion suppressed (P < 0.05) systemic and regional free fatty acid release in both men and women. Splanchnic nonchylomicron triglyceride release and leg nonchylomicron triglyceride uptake were not significantly different in men and women. In summary, the largest quantitative difference between men and women in fatty acid kinetics during meal ingestion is a substantially greater splanchnic uptake of meal triglyceride fatty acids in men. This could represent greater meal fatty acid storage in visceral adipose tissue.