By means of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the proton spin-lattice relaxation times (T1 values) of the skeletal muscles were measured in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) carriers and normal controls. The bound water fraction (BWF) was calculated form the T1 values obtained, according to the fast proton diffusion model. In the DMD carriers, T1 values of the gluteus maximus and quadriceps femoris muscles were significantly higher, and BWFs of these muscles were significantly lower, than in normal control. Degenerative muscular changes accompanied by interstitial edema were presumed responsible for this abnormality. No correlation was observed between the muscle T1 and serum creatine kinase values. The present study showed that MRI could be a useful method for studying the dynamic state of water in both normal and pathological skeletal muscles. Its possible utility for DMD carrier detection was discussed briefly.