Limited information exists about the putative role and expression in human skeletal muscle cells of the 88-kDa integral membrane protein fatty acid translocase (FAT), highly homologous to the human leucocyte differentiation factor CD36. Therefore, we investigated in healthy male individuals the muscle (m. vastus lateralis) fibre type specific expression and subcellular localisation of FAT/CD36. For this purpose four different monoclonal antibodies raised against human and mouse FAT/CD36 were used. Acetone or methanol/acetone fixation were tested. Serial cryosections were cut at -20 degrees C, thaw-mounted on uncoated glass slides and air-dried before processing indirect immunofluorescence assays. Images were examined in a Nikon ER800 microscope, digitally captured, processed and analysed by LUCIA laboratory software. Three antibodies showed that FAT/CD36 was: (1) most abundantly expressed in capillary endothelium, (2) colocalised with caveolin-3, which indicates that FAT/CD36 is in the sarcolemma, or its close vicinity, and (3) abundantly expressed in (or in the close vicinity) of the sarcolemma and intracellular structures of type-1 muscle fibres, and much less abundantly in the sarcolemma of type-2 muscle fibres. One of the antibodies raised against mouse CD36 also detected myosin heavy chain 1, which makes it unsuitable in skeletal muscle research. The fixation (acetone or methanol/acetone) was found to be highly important for the result.