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We evaluated the effects of partly substituting lard with marine n-3 fatty acids (FA) on body composition and weight, adipose tissue distribution and gene expression in five adipose depots of male Wistar rats fed a high-fat diet. Rats were fed diets including lard (19·5 % lard) or n-3 FA (9·1 % lard and 10·4 % Triomar™) for 7 weeks. Feed consumption and weight gain were similar, whereas plasma lipid concentrations were lower in the n-3 FA group. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed smaller visceral (mesenteric, perirenal and epididymal) adipose depots in the n-3 FA-fed animals (35, 44 and 32 % reductions, respectively). n-3 FA feeding increased mRNA expression of cytokines as well as chemokines in several adipose depots. Expression of Adipoq and Pparg was enhanced in the mesenteric adipose depots of the n-3 FA-fed rats, and fasting plasma insulin levels were lowered. Expression of the lipogenic enzymes Acaca and Fasn was increased in the visceral adipose depots, whereas Dgat1 was reduced in the perirenal and epididymal depots. Cpt2 mRNA expression was almost doubled in the mesenteric depot and liver. Carcass analyses showed similar body fat (%) in the two feeding groups, indicating that n-3 FA feeding led to redistribution of fat away from the visceral compartment.