A method has been developed to quantitate regional cerebral blood blow (rCBF) using iodine-123-labelled N-isopropyl-p-iodoamphetamine (IMP). This technique requires only two single-photon emission tomography (SPET) scans and one blood sample. Based on a two-compartment model, radioactivity concentrations in the brain for each scan time (early: t(e); delayed: td are described as: [formula: see text] respectively, where x denotes the convolution integral; Ca(t), the arterial input function; f, rCBF; and Vd, the regional distribution volume of IMP. Calculation of the ratio of the above two equations and a "table look-up" procedure yield a unique pair of rCBF and Vd for each region of interest (ROI). A standard input function has been generated by combining the input functions from 12 independent studies prior to this work to avoid frequent arterial blood sampling, and one blood sample is taken at 10 min following IMP administration for calibration of the standard arterial input function. This calibration time was determined such that the integration of the first 40 min of the calibrated, combined input function agreed best with those from 12 individual input functions (the difference was 5.3% on average). This method was applied to eight subjects (two normals and six patients with cerebral infarction), and yielded rCBF values which agreed well with those obtained by a positron emission tomography H2(15)O autoradiography method. This method was also found to provide rCBF values that were consistent with those obtained by the non-linear least squares fitting technique and those obtained by conventional microsphere model analysis. The optimum SPET scan times were found to be 40 and 180 min for the early and delayed scans, respectively. These scan times allow the use of a conventional rotating gamma camera for clinical purposes. Vd values ranged between 10 and 40 ml/g depending on the pathological condition, thereby suggesting the importance of measuring Vd for each ROI. In conclusion, optimization of the blood sampling time and the scanning time enabled quantitative measurement of rCBF with two SPET scans and one blood sample.