Adipose tissue is a highly plastic tissue with an important endocrine and metabolic function. To understand its role in human health and disease, it is necessary to understand the extent of variation and the specific differences within and between different depots and subjects. We employed cDNA microarray analysis to investigate this in human subjects ranging from lean to mildly obese. We observe (1) high similarity between different samples of one adipose depot, (2) only small differences between the subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue depot and (3) larger differences in gene expression between different individuals (per depot). The major variation within adipose depots can be attributed to differences in the non-adipocyte component of adipose tissue. Using only non-obese subjects, we identified genes that were consistently differentially expressed between subcutaneous and omental adipose tissue, despite the variation in gene expression between these subjects. Using quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), fatty acid binding protein 4 (FABP4), vimentin (Vim), four and a half LIMs domains (FHL1), CD36 (all higher in subcutaneous adipose tissue) and Matrix Gla protein (MGP; lower in subcutaneous adipose tissue) were confirmed to be significantly differentially expressed between depots.