Twenty years have elapsed since cytoplasmic proteins exhibiting high-affinity binding of long-chain fatty acids were first identified (Ockner et al., Science 177:56-58, 1972). These cellular fatty acid-binding proteins (FABPs) are now well established to comprise a ligand-defined group of macromolecules belonging to a family of cytoplasmic lipid binding proteins. Unique features of the FABPs are the existence of distinct types of FABP and that these are found in a variety of tissues in remarkable abundance, with some cells expressing more than one type. The physiological significance of the FABPs has only partly been elucidated. By increasing the cytoplasmic solubilization of fatty acids, the cellular FABPs are considered to function primarily in intracellular fatty acid transport, but may also be assigned important regulatory roles in cellular lipid homeostasis as well as in the modulation of cell growth and differentiation. The broad interests in cellular FABPs has led to the organization of the 1st International Workshop on Fatty Acid-Binding Protein, held in Maastricht, the Netherlands, in 1989. Prompted by the success of the first meeting, the 2nd International Workshop on Fatty-Acid-Binding Proteins, which was held again in Maastricht, on August 31 and September 1, 1992, brought together scientific scpecialists in the field of FABP research for two days of intensive and fruitful discussion. This volume is a collection of selected papers from this conference, and thus provides the state-of-the-art knowledge of cellular FABPs. The contributors to this issue represent pioneering as well as new investigators, and also reflect the multidisciplinary nature of research in this exciting and rapidly progressing field.