Objective: We aimed to evaluate the expression status of c-met, receptor for the hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), in the placentas of intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) fetuses. Materials and Methods: Placentas were obtained during delivery from both third trimester normal and IUGR complicated pregnancies. Ultrasonographic estimation of fetal birth weight has been done and placentas of those under the fifth percentile for their gestational ages were enrolled in the study group. Eighteen fetuses with IUGR and 6 uncomplicated pregnancies were subjected to the study. Histological sections from placentas were immunohistochemically evaluated for the expression status of c-met. Results: Seventeen of the eighteen patients (94.4%) in the study group were found to have overexpression of the c-met while this figure was only 16.7% (1/6) in the control group (p < 0.0001). There was a strong statistically significant difference between the two groups regarding degree of c-met expression. Conclusion: Our present findings suggest that c-met is an important cell membrane receptor in human placenta. Deregulation of the interaction between HGF and its receptor c-met during placentation may be the cause responsible for the growth retardation of the fetus due to the impaired placental functions. Copyright (c) 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel.