Abstract Placental protein 5 (PP5) is a placenta-derived glycoprotein with serine proteinase-inhibiting activity. To date its physiological functions have not been well elucidated. Recently, cDNA sequence analysis revealed that PP5 belongs to the Kunitz-type proteinase inhibitor family and it is identical to tissue factor pathway inhibitor-2 (TFPI-2), homologous to TFPI. Northern blot analysis demonstrated that placental tissue is extremely rich in the transcripts. This study localized PP5/TFPI-2 mRNA in placental tissues at three different gestational periods using in situ hybridization. PP5/TFPI-2 mRNA was specifically detected in syncytiotrophoblast at any gestational period examined, suggesting that syncytiotrophoblast is the principal production site of PP5/TFPI-2 in developing placental tissues. This rnRNA expression pattern of PP5/TFPI-2 is quite different from that of TFPI, which is mainly found in vascular endothelial cells. The results indicated possible roles of PP5/TFPI-2 in the trophoblast differentiation and in the maintenance of intervillous blood flow. Also, Northern analysis demonstrated no or little expression of PP5/TFPI-2 in four choriocarcinoma cell lines, in contrast to its abundant expression in syncytiotrophoblast.