Aims. Our objective was to examine Apo J protein expression in a total of 27 early liveborn neonatal deaths (less than 7 days of age) selected from the Scottish Perinatal Study (gestation of 25-42 weeks) comparing a group with histological pontosubicular necrosis (PSN) (n = 12) to a control group lacking PSN (n = 15). Methods. Using immunohistochemistry we evaluated postmortem pons and hippocampus from patients with PSN versus controls. Results. In the group with PSN, 11/12 (92%) cases showed positive Apo J neurones in the hippocampus/pons compared with 6/15 (40%) cases without PSN (P = 0.014, odds ratio 27.5, 95% confidence interval 2.881-262.48, using exact logistic regression)-independent of gestation, presence or absence of clinical asphyxia, duration of labour, or postnatal age. Clinical asphyxia was present in 10/15 (67%) without PSN compared with 11/12 (92%) with PSN. Neuronal Apo J positivity was present in 15/21 (71%) of clinically asphyxiated cases compared with 2/6 (33%) of the cases with no evidence of clinical asphyxia (P = 0.154, odds ratio 5, 95% confidence interval 0.71 to 34.94). Conclusions. Apo J neuronal protein expression is significantly increased in cases with PSN compared to cases without PSN-independent of gestation, presence of clinical asphyxia, duration of labour, or postnatal age.