We describe the use of relative proton density imaging to obtain spatially resolved measurements of the brain:blood partition coefficient for water. Values of relative proton density and apparent-T1 were calculated by performing a multidimensional nonlinear least squares fit of progressive saturation image data. Correction for magnetic field inhomogeneity was included. The partition coefficient was calculated by dividing the relative proton density of brain by the relative proton density of blood water. Results obtained from healthy volunteers demonstrate significant spatial variation in the partition coefficient in brain. Direct measurement of this parameter eliminates a source of error in the calculation of regional perfusion using arterial spin-tagging techniques.