Perfusion imaging using arterial spin labeling

Top Magn Reson Imaging. 2004 Feb;15(1):10-27. doi: 10.1097/00002142-200402000-00003.


Arterial spin labeling is a magnetic resonance method for the measurement of cerebral blood flow. In its simplest form, the perfusion contrast in the images gathered by this technique comes from the subtraction of two successively acquired images: one with, and one without, proximal labeling of arterial water spins after a small delay time. Over the last decade, the method has moved from the experimental laboratory to the clinical environment. Furthermore, numerous improvements, ranging from new pulse sequence implementations to extensive theoretical studies, have broadened its reach and extended its potential applications. In this review, the multiple facets of this powerful yet difficult technique are discussed. Different implementations are compared, the theoretical background is summarized, and potential applications of various implementations in research as well as in the daily clinical routine are proposed. Finally, a summary of the new developments and emerging techniques in this field is provided.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Artifacts
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Blood-Brain Barrier
  • Brain Diseases / diagnosis
  • Brain Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Spin Labels*
  • Subtraction Technique


  • Spin Labels
  • Oxygen