While endovascular trophoblast invasion of the human placental bed spiral arteries has been studied extensively, no information is available on the interaction between interstitially invading trophoblast and uterine capillaries and venules. Placental bed biopsies of eight normotensive and 15 pre-eclamptic patients were double-immunostained for cytokeratin and the endothelial marker CD31, providing satisfactory staining results in six and 10 biopsies, respectively. Interstitial trophoblast tissue density did not differ between the two series of biopsies, implying that this pathway of invasion is not impaired in pre-eclampsia. Both groups showed a similar incidence of approach of non-arterial vascular structures by perivascular trophoblast. Differences in CD31 staining intensity were noticed in different vascular cross-sections. Lower staining intensity was related to the presence of perivascular trophoblast. Because of the identity of CD31 with the platelet-endothelial cell adhesion molecule (PECAM)-1, the trophoblast-dependent downregulation of CD31 may play a role in the control of leukocytic traffic within the placental bed. The phenomena described in this paper did not show any difference between the normotensive and pre-eclamptic patients, implying that interaction of interstitial trophoblast with venous and capillary structures is not related to the pathogenesis of pre-eclampsia.