The aim of this study was to investigate endothelial lipase (EL, LIPG) and lipoprotein lipase (LPL) mRNA and protein expression in normal human testis and testicular germ cell tumours (GCT). Both EL and LPL were expressed in normal seminiferous tubules and in the interstitial compartment. EL mRNA and protein were found in all germ cells as well as in Sertoli and Leydig cells. EL mRNA was abundant in pre-invasive carcinoma in situ (CIS) cells and GCTs, and EL protein was present in the cytoplasm of these cells. LPL mRNA was also relatively abundant in germ cells, Sertoli cells, CIS cells and GCTs. The LPL protein, however, was restricted to the cell membranes of pachytene spermatocytes and spermatids in normal tubules, absent from CIS cells and scarcely represented in tumours. The distribution of LPL protein in non-seminomas resembled the distribution of OCT3/4, a marker of embryonal carcinoma. The results suggest that both EL and LPL participate in the supply of nutrients and steroidogenesis in the testes, and that especially EL may be important for the supply of cholesterol for testosterone production in the Leydig cells. The partial cellular separation of the expression of the two lipases in normal testis suggests the existence of distinct biological roles, perhaps developmentally regulated, as indicated by the LPL expression in GCTs with embryonic features. A high expression of EL and abundance of lipid in tubules with CIS may have a diagnostic value.