In conclusion, the chicken adipose tissue gene expression profile was investigated comprehensively in the present study, and specific genes that were differentially expressed in adipose tissue between a fat and a lean chicken line were identified with the aid of the Chicken Genome Array. Genes with high and low expression levels and "not-expressed" genes were identified, and 230 genes that were differentially expressed between the two chicken lines were screened out and confirmed by real-time RT-PCR. These genes were mainly involved in lipid metabolism, energy metabolism, signal transduction, tumorigenesis and immunity. Further analysis indicated that the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, propionyl-coenzyme A-carboxylase, TNFa and the protein tyrosine phosphatase pathway may play key roles in lipid metabolism. If confirmed in future studies, these patterns of gene expression may contribute to understanding the molecular mechanism of obesity in chickens and provide potential targets for future therapy in humans.