Background/Aims: Periapical periodontitis is caused by bacterial infection and results in both one destruction and tooth loss. Osteopontin (OPN) is a secreted phosphorylated glycoprotein that participates in bone metabolism. Methods: Thirty-three patients with chronic periapical periodontitis and 10 patients who had undergone the orthodontic removal of healthy tooth tissue (control) at the periodontal ligament were investigated, and an animal model of mouse periapical periodontitis was established for an in vivo analysis. The relationship between OPN and bone destruction during periapical periodontitis was analyzed. Osteoblasts and osteoclasts were cultured in vitro and treated with lipopolysaccharide. An inhibitor of NF-κB was used to pretreat the transfected cells. Results: OPN increased osteoclast proliferation and differentiation, but reduced osteoblasts proliferation and differentiation. OPN activated the NF-κB pathway during periapical periodontitis and accelerated the transfer and phosphorylation of P65 from the cytoplasm to the nucleus. Conclusion: This study demonstrated that OPN played important roles in the progression of periapical periodontitis, and a dual role in bone metabolism during periapical periodontitis, linking osteoclasts and osteoblasts. The underlying mechanism may be related to the NF-κB pathway.