Arterial spin labeling MRI: clinical applications in the brain

J Magn Reson Imaging. 2015 May;41(5):1165-80. doi: 10.1002/jmri.24751. Epub 2014 Sep 19.


Visualization of cerebral blood flow (CBF) has become an important part of neuroimaging for a wide range of diseases. Arterial spin labeling (ASL) perfusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sequences are increasingly being used to provide MR-based CBF quantification without the need for contrast administration, and can be obtained in conjunction with a structural MRI study. ASL MRI is useful for evaluating cerebrovascular disease including arterio-occlusive disease, vascular shunts, for assessing primary and secondary malignancy, and as a biomarker for neuronal metabolism in other disorders such as seizures and neurodegeneration. In this review we briefly outline the various ASL techniques including advantages and disadvantages of each, methodology for clinical interpretation, and clinical applications with specific examples.

Keywords: Arterial spin labeling; MRI; cerebral blood flow.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Cerebral Arteries / pathology
  • Cerebral Arteries / physiopathology*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation*
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Spin Labels
  • Young Adult


  • Spin Labels