Purification of a cytosolic fatty acid-binding protein (FABP) from developing human placenta has been achieved, and its role in modulating the inhibition of human placental glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) by palmitoyl-CoA (PAL-CoA) has been studied. FABP was resolved into three peaks, viz. DE-I, DE-II and DE-III, by DEAE cellulose chromatography. DE-I was almost lipid-free. Presence of endogenous fatty acids in DE-II and DE-III was detected by thin layer chromatography (TLC). Fatty acids were the only detectable lipid component in these fractions. Gas liquid chromatography (GLC) analysis revealed that DE-II binds long chain saturated and unsaturated fatty acids nonspecifically, whereas DE-III is mainly an arachidonic acid carrier. Each of these fractions, viz. DE-I, DE-II and DE-III, has a molecular weight of 14,200 Daltons. Ouchterlony double immunodiffusion studies have confirmed the immunochemical identity of these three fractions of placental FABP. Separation in ion exchanger may be due to their different isoelectric points and varied types of binding affinities. Human placental G6PD was inhibited 50% by 0.03 mM PAL-CoA. The DE-II fraction of FABP enhanced the activity of G6PD in the absence of added PAL-CoA and protected against PAL-CoA inhibition of the enzyme. Such a modulating effect of FABP in this inhibition is attributable to binding of long chain acyl-CoA rather than to a direct effect of FABP on the enzyme itself. © 1988 American Oil Chemists' Society.