In vivo quantitation of hepatic iron content is useful in diagnosis and staging of several iron related diseases. We used an experimental model of hepatic iron overload to determine the correlation between iron content and T2 relaxation time in rat liver. Experiments were carried out at 4.7T for high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) using a spin-echo multiecho sequence with six echoes and minimum echo-time of 5.5 msec. The liver iron content was determined ex vivo by atomic absorption spectrophotometry (AAS). T2 maps were calculated in order to evaluate the space distribution of the iron content. We found good linear correlation between the in vivo liver transversal relaxation rate and the iron content within the range explored (106-4538 microg Fe/g liver wet wt.). T2 maps revealed that the decrease in T2 is not homogeneous through the liver parenchyma. This finding represents a physiological limitation to obtaining better correlation between T2 and iron content.