Measurement of tissue perfusion is important for the functional assessment of organs in vivo. Here we report the use of 1H NMR imaging to generate perfusion maps in the rat brain at 4.7 T. Blood water flowing to the brain is saturated in the neck region with a slice-selective saturation imaging sequence, creating an endogenous tracer in the form of proximally saturated spins. Because proton T1 times are relatively long, particularly at high field strengths, saturated spins exchange with bulk water in the brain and a steady state is created where the regional concentration of saturated spins is determined by the regional blood flow and regional T1. Distal saturation applied equidistantly outside the brain serves as a control for effects of the saturation pulses. Average cerebral blood flow in normocapnic rat brain under halothane anesthesia was determined to be 105 +/- 16 cc.100 g-1.min-1 (mean +/- SEM, n = 3), in good agreement with values reported in the literature, and was sensitive to increases in arterial pCO2. This technique allows regional perfusion maps to be measured noninvasively, with the resolution of 1H MRI, and should be readily applicable to human studies.