Oxidative stress has been implicated in the pathogenesis of preeclampsia. This study measured the relative mRNA expression of antioxidant proteins glutathione peroxidase 1 and 4, glutathione reductase, thioredoxin 1 and 2, thioredoxin reductase 1, thioredoxin peroxidase 3 and superoxide dismutase 1 and 2 in preeclamptic and non-preeclamptic placentae. Quantitative real-time PCR was conducted on placental mRNA isolated from preeclamptic and control patients. Cycle threshold numbers and fold differences were calculated as a measure of linear product amplification and used for comparison. The mRNA expression of glutathione reductase was significantly reduced (fold difference 0.41, p<0.05) in preeclamptic placenta when compared to controls while the expression of thioredoxin peroxidase 3 was significantly increased (fold difference 3.25, p<0.001) in the preeclamptic placentae. No significant difference in expression was observed for glutathione peroxidase 1 and 4, thioredoxin 1 and 2, thioredoxin reductase 1 and superoxide dismutase 1 and 2. These results suggest that it is the abnormal oxidative insult associated with preeclampsia not mRNA expression of antioxidant proteins that may be responsible for reduced antioxidant enzyme activity in preeclamptic placentae.