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To compare two methods for assessing the single kidney glomerular filtration rate (SK-GFR) in humans using dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE)-MRI.Images were acquired from 39 separate MR studies of patients with atherosclerotic renovascular disease (ARVD). Data from the kidneys and descending aorta were analyzed using both a Rutland-Patlak plot and a compartmental model. MR estimates of the SK-GFR were compared with standard radioisotope measures in a total of 75 kidneys.Estimates of renal function using both techniques correlated well with radioisotope-assessed SK-GFR (Spearman's ρ = 0.81, Rutland-Patlak; ρ = 0.71, compartmental model). The Rutland-Patlak approach provided a near one-to-one correspondence, while the compartmental method tended to overestimate SK-GFR. However, the compartmental model fits to the experimental data were significantly better than those obtained using the Rutland-Patlak approach.DCE-MRI of the kidneys provides data that correlate well with reference measures of SK-GFR. However, further work, including image registration, is needed to isolate measurement of glomerular filtration to the level of the renal cortex.