AIM: Membrane fatty acid transporters can modulate the balance between fatty acid uptake and subsequent storage and/or oxidation in muscle tissue. As such, skeletal muscle fatty acid transporter protein expression could play an important role in the etiology of insulin resistance and/or type 2 diabetes. METHODS: In the present study, fatty acid translocase (FAT/CD36), plasma membrane-bound fatty acid-binding protein (FABPpm) and fatty acid transport protein 1 (FATP1) mRNA and protein expression were assessed in muscle tissue obtained from 10 sedentary, overweight type 2 diabetes patients (60 +/- 2 years), 10 sedentary, weight-matched normoglycemic controls (60 +/- 2 years) and 10 age-matched, endurance trained cyclists (57 +/- 1 years). RESULTS: Both FAT/CD36 and FATP1 mRNA and protein expression did not differ between groups. In contrast, FABPpm mRNA and protein expression were approx. 30-40% higher in the trained men compared with the diabetes patients (P < 0.01) and sedentary controls (P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Skeletal muscle FAT/CD36, FABPpm and FATP1 mRNA and protein expression are not up- or downregulated in a sedentary and/or insulin resistant state. In contrast, FABPpm expression is upregulated in the endurance trained state and likely instrumental to allow greater fatty acid oxidation rates.