Osteopontin (OPN), a secretory RGD-containing phosphoprotein, is induced in acute renal injury where it plays a renoprotective role. To investigate in depth the mode of OPN secretion under stress conditions, we analyzed OPN traffic in human renal proximal tubular epithelial cells (RPTEC). Western blot analysis and fluorescence microscopy revealed trace amounts of OPN in intact cells, whereas cytoplasmic OPN levels were significantly increased after 24–48 h hypoxia. Immunoelectron microscopy of RPTEC showed predominantly apical localization of gold-labeled OPN under normal conditions. Hypoxia (24 h) increased 2.5-fold immunodetectable gold-labeled OPN at the apical plasma membrane; further reoxygenation (2 h) augmented apical and basolateral labeling 2- and 10-fold, respectively. Analysis of apical and basolateral medium conditioned by RPTEC grown on semipermeable membranes using a specially developed ELISA showed a global decrease in secreted OPN after hypoxia, which recovered following 2 h reoxygenation. Agents known to disrupt the function of the Golgi apparatus (brefeldin A, monensin) or actin cytoskeleton (cytochalasin B) significantly inhibited OPN-GFP secretion in normoxic cells. In cells recovering from hypoxia, however, OPN secretion required functional Golgi apparatus, but was not affected by cytochalasin B. These findings demonstrate that stress inhibits OPN secretion by the process dependent on the functional Golgi apparatus and actin cytoskeleton; recovery restores OPN secretion, although its polarity may become perturbed.