[en] Laminin is a large basement membrane glycoprotein localized in the trophoblast, glomerular basement membrane and in the mesangial matrix of human glomeruli. It promotes the attachment of epithelial cells to basement membrane collagen. We have found that 14 sera from 52 patients with severe preeclampsia or eclampsia contain IgG and IgM antibodies which react with placental and kidney basement membranes. These antibodies were specific for laminin and did not react with other basement membrane proteins. They were able to fix complement. They have been demonstrated by radial immunodiffusion, radioimmunoassay and immunofluorescence blocking studies. In primary cultures they were shown to impair the attachment of trophoblast cells to basement membrane collagen. High levels of circulating immune complexes were detected only in sera from preeclamptic patients with circulating antibodies to laminin. The auto-antibodies to laminin could play a major role in the pathogenesis of severe preeclampsia by impairing the attachment of trophoblast cells to placental basement membranes and by fixation to the glomerular basement membranes and mesangial matrix.