1. Adipose tissue samples were obtained by needle biopsy from three subcutaneous sites (thigh, abdomen and upper arm) in twenty-two obese women. The fatty acid composition was determined using gas-liquid chromatography and the results presented relate to eleven component fatty acids.
2. The fatty acid composition of adipose tissue obtained from the arm and abdomen was remarkably similar, with the exception of the levels of lauric acid.
3. The analyses showed that the majority of the saturated fatty acids were present in smaller proportions whilist the majority of unsaturated fatty acids were present in larger proportions in the thigh than in the two other sites. Highly significant inter-site differences were demonstrated for six of the major fatty acids and also for both the total amounts of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids and their ratios.
4. No marked differences in the fatty acid composition of adipose tissue from obese subjects were revealed during this study when compared with previously reported results obtained from ‘normal-weight’ subjects.