PURPOSE To develop a technique for measurement of regional renal perfusion with magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. MATERIALS AND METHODS Quantitative renal perfusion images in rats were obtained by measurement of the reduction in kidney MR image signal intensity after steady state magnetic labeling of arterial blood in the suprarenal aorta. Labeling was achieved with adiabatic fast passage inversion of arterial water. RESULTS Cortical renal blood flow was 4.9 mL/g/min +/- 0.15 (12 rats), which correlated well with previous measurements obtained with other techniques. Serial perfusion images obtained every 5 minutes during intravenous infusion of either acetylcholine or angiotensin II showed that one increased and the other decreased renal blood flow, respectively, also correlating with previous measurements. CONCLUSION Quantitative measurement of cortical renal blood flow can be obtained with proton MR imaging techniques, with use of endogenous arterial water as a tracer. This technique should be readily applicable to measurement of renal perfusion in humans.