High resolution NMR imaging of the isolated perfused rat hippocampal slice was used to quantitate ADC changes following ouabain-induced cell swelling. Hippocampal slices were studied in artificial cerebrospinal fluid and then in ouabain using a 600-MHz narrow bore spectrometer and a home-built perfusion chamber. The brain slices demonstrated biexponential diffusion behavior. After perfusion with 1 mMouabain, there was an increase in the fraction of slowly diffusing water. The ADCs of the two fractions did not change. These data support the hypothesis that the decrease in the ADC of brain water following an ischemic attack is caused by cell swelling. The relative amplitudes of the two diffusing fractions do not match the expected ratio of intracellular and extracellular fractions. This discrepancy may be principally due to the difference in T2 relaxation rates of the two compartments.