The authors determined cerebral blood flow (CBF) with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of contrast agent bolus passage and compared the results with those obtained by O-15 labeled water (H215O) and positron emission tomography (PET). Six pigs were examined by MRI and PET under normo- and hypercapnic conditions. After dose normalization and introduction of an empirical constant phi Gd, absolute regional CBF was calculated from MRI. The spatial resolution and the signal-to-noise ratio of CBF measurements by MRI were better than by the H215O-PET protocol. Magnetic resonance imaging cerebral blood volume (CBV) estimates obtained using this normalization constant correlated well with values obtained by O-15 labeled carbonmonooxide (C15O) PET. However, PET CBV values were approximately 2.5 times larger than absolute MRI CBV values, supporting the hypothesized sensitivity of MRI to small vessels.