Pre-eclampsia (PE) is a multisystem disorder commonly diagnosed in the latter half of pregnancy and it is a leading cause of intrauterine fetal growth retardation (IUGR). The aim of this study was to investigate the localization and the role of SPARC, secreted protein acidic, and rich in cysteine, in PE and PE-IUGR placentas in comparison with normal placentas. SPARC was mainly expressed in the villous and extravillous cytotrophoblastic cells in first trimester, whereas in PE, PE-IUGR and at term placentas, SPARC immunostaining was visible in both cytotrophoblastic cells and syncytiotrophoblast. SPARC expression significantly decreased in normal placenta from first to third trimester and a further significant reduction was demonstrated in PE and PE-IUGR. The latter downregulation of SPARC depends on hypoxic condition as shown by in vitro models. In conclusion, SPARC can play a pivotal role in PE and PE-IUGR onset and it should be considered as a key molecule for future investigations in such pathologies.