An introduction to ASL labeling techniques

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Arterial spin labeling (ASL) methods allow for quantitative mapping of tissue perfusion in absolute units, without the use of contrast agents. In this technique, the magnetization of arterial blood water is labeled by magnetic inversion or saturation, and the delivery of labeled blood water to tissues is observed. In this review three classes of labeling methods for ASL are described and compared: continuous, pulsed, and velocity-selective. The quantification of perfusion from ASL data is discussed, and methods for the extraction of new types of information using ASL and related techniques, such as mapping of vascular territories or venous oxygenation, are described. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2014;40:1–10. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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