In normal pregnancy, villous cytotrophoblast and syncytiotrophoblast do not express HLA Class I and Class II molecules, while invasive extravillous trophoblast only express class I HLA-C and the atypical class Ib antigens, HLA-G, -E and -F. Inadequate maternal tolerance of invasive trophoblast has been proposed as a possible immunologic trigger of poor trophoblast invasion and subsequent occurrence of pre-eclampsia. This study aimed to investigate possible aberrant expression of class II HLA-DR on placentae and syncytiotrophoblast-derived extracellular vesicles (STEVs), obtained by dual placental perfusion, from pre-eclampsia (n = 23) and normal pregnant (n = 14) women. Here we demonstrate that HLA-DR can be detected in syncytiotrophoblast from a significant proportion of pre-eclampsia but not control placentae. HLA-DR was also observed, by flow cytometry, on STEVs and associated with placental alkaline phosphatase to validate their placental origin. HLA-DR positive syncytiotrophoblast was detected in placental biopsies from pre-eclampsia but not normal control cases, using immunohistochemistry. The HLA may be fetal or maternal origin. In the latter case a possible mechanism of acquisition is trogocytosis.