Osteopontin (OPN) is a bone matrix protein expressed my macrophages and related to the process of tissue calcification, and is also known to protect ischemic cells. To understand how OPN is involved in the process of ischemic axonal death in periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), we examined the immunoreactivity of OPN and ionized calcium binding adaptor molecule 1 (Iba1; microglia/macrophage marker) at various stages of PVL. OPN immunoreactivity paralleled the number of Iba1-positive foam cells; a finding which suggests the production of OPN protein by foam cells. OPN immunoreactivity was not found in either normal white matter or acute PVL lesions, but was detected at the subacute and chronic stages in swollen and calcified axons bordering the ischemic zone. These findings suggest that OPN is closely associated with death of swollen axons at the periphery of the ischemic zone, regulating the presence or absence of calcification.