In spontaneously hypertensive (SHR) and normotensive rats (WKY), diets supplemented with n-3 fatty acids of different chain length (alpha-linolenic acid, LNA-C 18:3, n-3 with linseed oil and eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA-C 20:5, n-3 with cod liver oil) were fed over a period of 22 weeks. A diet with commercially available pellets served as control. After the LNA-rich diet the augmentation of LNA was most pronounced in liver triglycerides (TG) and free fatty acids (FFA), whereas the increase of EPA was most marked in phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) and phosphatidylcholine (PC) when compared with the controls. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) was decreased mainly in neutral lipids. Of the n-6 fatty acids linoleic acid (LA) appeared significantly depressed in TG and FFA, but increased in phospholipids. Arachidonic acid (AA), however, was lower in all lipids. In SHR and WKY fed the EPA-rich diet EPA and DHA were significantly higher as compared to the controls on a pellet diet. On the contrary, LNA was not detectable in all lipid classes. LA and AA were markedly depressed. Docosenoic acids were significantly increased. The p/s-ratio did not reflect the changes in the 20:5/20:4- and n-3/n-6-ratios. The data indicate a differential effect of dietary n-3 fatty acids of different chain length on the supply of other n-3 fatty acids. Moreover, after an LNA-rich diet divergent alterations of LA in neutral lipids and phospholipids occurred. The results are dissimilar to those obtained in adipose tissue. Blood pressure was not influenced by the diets in either SHR or WKY.