Summary Placental villi of early and term human placentae were dissociated with trypsin and mixed cell cultures were established. The different cell types were identified and estimated over a 14-day culture period using antibodies to keratin and vimentin filaments and their capacity to phagocytose yeast. The three main cell types were found to be epithelial-, macrophage- and fibroblast-like cells. The epithelial-like cells can be further divided into the multinucleated and the small- and medium-sized round cells, and these are most likely to be derived from the trophoblast. The cellular composition of cultures were different for early and term placentae and also varied characteristically over the 14-day culture period.