BACKGROUND Lipid and glycemic imbalances are frequent disorders found in diabetes type 2. These disorders are influenced by dietary means. AIM to investigate saturated fatty acids (SFA), polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFS) and oleic acid of cholesterol ester fraction in non-insulin dependant diabetes mellitus without cardiovascular complications (NIDDM), non-insulin dependant diabetes mellitus with cardiovascular complications (NIDDMc) and healthy controls. METHODS The composition of cholesterol ester fatty acids in 35 NIDDM, 33 NIDDMc and 32 controls were measured by gas-chromatography. Glycaemia and lipid profile were measured using commercial kits. RESULTS Compared to NIDDM and to controls, NIDDMc showed a significant increase of different SFA (C12:0, C14:0, C16:0, C18:0). Oleic acid (C18:1) was significantly decreased in NIDDMc and NIDDM compared to controls (15,88 +/- 2,34 and 22,66 +/- 4,14 vs 28,18 +/- 2,90). Linoleic acid (C18:2) was significantly increased in NIDDMc compared to NIDDM and controls (52,59 +/- 5,50 vs 49,29 +/- 8,58 and 39,26 +/- 10,46). Linolenic acid (C18:3) and arachidonic acid (C20:4) were significantly decreased in NIDDMc compared to NIDDM and to controls. Linoleic acid (C18:2) / linolenic acid (C18:3) ratio was increased in NIDDMc. CONCLUSION Linoleic (C18:2) acid excess intake found in our NIDDMc could emphasize arachidonic synthesis which is directly transformed while an inflammatory syndrome observed in coronary pathologies.