Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging with a whole-body imager was performed in 10 fresh, unfixed whole human brains selected randomly from cadavers. All subjects were neurologically intact before death. T2 time constants were measured within the caudate nucleus, putamen, globus pallidus, cortical gray matter, subcortical white matter, and optic radiation. These regions were then excised, and T2 values were measured again with a 1.5-T MR spectrometer. Quantitative assays of iron, ferritin, and protein from these areas were then performed. Iron concentration varied significantly among brain regions, whereas ferritin and protein concentrations were constant among brain regions and among individuals. Neither iron nor ferritin concentration showed any consistent correlation with T2 values. Histologic examination of brain micro-sections with iron- and ferritin-specific stains of demonstrated poor correlation with biochemical assays of ferritin and iron concentrations. Results indicate that T2 values correlate poorly with iron and ferritin concentrations found in neurologically intact brains.