Liver fatty acid-binding protein (L-Fabp) is an abundant cytosolic lipid-binding protein with broad substrate specificity, expressed in mammalian enterocytes and hepatocytes. We have generated mice with a targeted deletion of the endogenous L-Fabp gene and have characterized their response to alterations in hepatic fatty acid flux following prolonged fasting. Chow-fed L-Fabp -/- mice were indistinguishable from wild-type littermates with regard to growth, serum and tissue lipid profiles, and fatty acid distribution within hepatic complex lipid species. In response to 48-h fasting, however, wild-type mice demonstrated a ∼10-fold increase in hepatic triglyceride content while L-Fabp-/- mice demonstrated only a 2-fold increase. Hepatic VLDL secretion was decreased in L-Fabp-/- mice suggesting that the decreased accumulation of hepatic triglyceride was not the result of increased secretion. Fatty acid oxidation, as inferred from serum β-hydroxybutyrate levels, was increased in response to fasting, although the increase in L-Fabp-/- mice was significantly reduced in comparison to wild-type controls, despite comparable induction of PPARα target genes. Studies in primary hepatocytes revealed indistinguishable initial rates of oleate uptake, but longer intervals revealed reduced rates of uptake in fasted L-Fabp-/- mice. Oleate incorporation into cellular triglyceride and diacylglycerol was reduced in L-Fabp-/- mice although incorporation into phospholipid and cholesterol ester was no different than wild-type controls. These data point to an inducible defect in fatty acid utilization in fasted L-Fabp-/- mice that involves targeting of substrate for use in triglyceride metabolism.