Rates of fatty acid oxidation increase rapidly in both rat heart and skeletal muscle in the early postnatal period. Therefore, we examined in heart and soleus muscle, (a) whether there were rapid changes in fatty acid transporter (FAT/CD36, FABPpm) mRNA and protein expression early in life (days 10 -36) and thereafter (days 84, 160, 365), and (b) whether the rates of fatty acid transport and the plasmalemmal content of FAT/CD36 and FABPpm were altered. Protein expression was altered rapidly from day 10-36 in both heart (FAT/CD36 only, +21%, P < 0.05)) and soleus muscle (FAT/CD36 + 100%, P < 0.05; FABPpm -20%, P < 0.05), with no further changes thereafter (P < 0.05). Rates of fatty acid transport (day 10 vs day 160) were increased in heart (+33%, P < 0.05) and muscle (+85%, P < 0.05), and were associated with concomitant increases in plasmalemmal FABPpm (+44%, P < 0.05) and FAT/CD36 (+16%, P < 0.05) in the heart, and only plasmalemmal FAT/CD36 in muscle (+90%, P < 0.05). Therefore, known changes in the rates of fatty acid oxidation in heart and muscle early in life appear to be accompanied by a concurrent upregulation in the rates of fatty acid transport and the expression of FAT/CD36 in heart and muscle, as well as an increase in plasmalemmal FAT/CD36 and FABPpm in the heart, and only plasmalemmal FAT/CD36 in soleus muscle. We speculate that the rapid upregulation of fatty acid transport rates in heart and muscle are needed to support the increased rates of fatty oxidation that have been previously observed in these tissues.