PURPOSE: To characterize misregistration artifact in arterial input function (AIF) pixels in dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI) using a two-dimensional non-echo-planar imaging (EPI)-based gradient-recalled echo (GRE) sequence. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Dynamic gadopentetate-enhanced MRI was acquired in the rat using a semikeyhole acquisition scheme. The AIF was obtained from abdominal aorta pixels. Different sliding-window reconstruction techniques were applied to determine which lines in a series of the semikeyhole acquisition were associated with the misregistration artifacts. RESULTS: The misregistration along the phase-encoding direction arose when k-space lines were acquired during the rise-time of the aortic gadolinium concentration. The maximum blood concentration of gadolinium estimated from the phase shift calculation agreed with that estimated from dosage. CONCLUSION: AIF misregistration results from a phase shift due to increasing gadolinium concentration in the aorta, and may need to be considered in small animal DCE-MRI studies with a high rate of rise in the AIF in high-field MR applications. (c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.