Parametric mapping of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) distribution in adipose tissues was obtained by 1H chemical shift imaging (CSI). A matrix of spectra, acquired with a CSI sequence having two spatial and one spectroscopic dimension, was processed with ad hoc algorithms. The protocol was applied to phantoms containing different lipids in which the degree of polyunsaturation was determined by high-resolution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). High correlation (R2 = 0.998) between degrees of polyunsaturation given by our protocol and that measured by high-resolution NMR was found. The thoracic region of rats was also examined. Parametric maps of the polyunsaturation degree were obtained for the brown adipose tissue and the white axillary fat: the first deposit was found more polyunsaturated than the second. Finally, in vivo mapping of the inguinal region of the rat was produced that allowed us to individuate PUFA-rich areas in adipose tissue. This work demonstrates the feasibility of PUFA imaging in vivo. Magn Reson Med 46:879–883, 2001. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.