Although studies performed in vitro and with transfected cells in culture suggest a role for liver fatty acid binding protein (L-FABP) in regulating fatty acid oxidation and fat deposition, the physiological significance of this possibility is not completely clear. To begin to address this question, the effect of L-FABP gene ablation on phenotype of standard rodent chow-fed male mice was examined with increasing age up to 18 months. While young (2-3 months old) L-FABP null mice displayed no visually obvious phenotype, with increasing age >9 months the L-FABP null mice were visibly larger, exhibiting increased body weight due to increased fat and lean tissue mass. Liver lipid concentrations were unaffected by L-FABP gene ablation with the exception of triacylglycerol, which was decreased by 74% in the livers of 3-month-old mice. Likewise, serum lipid levels were not altered in L-FABP null mice with the exception of triacylglycerol, which was increased in the serum of 18-month-old mice. Increased body weight, fat tissue mass, and lean tissue mass in 18-month-old L-FABP null mice were accompanied by increased hepatic levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) alpha, and PPARalpha-regulated proteins such as fatty acid transport protein (FATP), fatty acid translocase (FAT/CD36), carnitine palmitoyl transferase I (CPT I), and lipoprotein lipase (LPL). A key enzyme in cholesterol biosynthesis, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl Coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase, was down-regulated in L-FABP null mice. These findings were consistent with a proposed role for L-FABP as an important physiological regulator of PPARalpha.