The activities of the enzymes glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase and fatty acid synthase are inhibited by palmitoyl-coenzyme A and oleate. The two isoforms of fatty acid binding proteins (PI 6.9 and PI 5.4) enhance the activities of glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase and fatty acid synthase in the absence of palmitoyl-coenzyme A or oleate and also protect them against palmitoyl-coenzyme A or oleate inhibition. Levels of fatty acid binding proteins, the activities of the enzymes fatty acid synthase and glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase increase with gestation showing a peak at term. However, the activity of fatty acid synthase showed the same trend up to the 30th week of gestation and then declined slightly at term. With the advancement of pregnancy when more lipids are required for the developing placenta, fatty acid binding proteins supply more fatty acids and glycerol-3-phosphate for the synthesis of lipids. Thus a correlation exists between glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, fatty acid synthase and fatty acid binding proteins in developing human placenta. © 1995 Indian Academy of Sciences.