, Volume 54, Issue 8, pp 883-892
Date: 22 May 2012

Neuroanatomical correlates of tinnitus revealed by cortical thickness analysis and diffusion tensor imaging

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Tinnitus is a poorly understood auditory perception of sound in the absence of external stimuli. Convergent evidence proposes that tinnitus perception involves brain structural alterations as part of its pathophysiology. The aim of this study is to investigate the structural brain changes that might be associated with tinnitus-related stress and negative emotions.


Using high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging and diffusion tensor imaging, we investigated grey matter and white matter (WM) alterations by estimating cortical thickness measures, fractional anisotropy and mean diffusivity in 14 tinnitus subjects and 14 age- and sex-matched non-tinnitus subjects.


Significant cortical thickness reductions were found in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), temporal lobe and limbic system in tinnitus subjects compared to non-tinnitus subjects. Tinnitus sufferers were found to have disrupted WM integrity in tracts involving connectivity of the PFC, temporal lobe, thalamus and limbic system.


Our results suggest that such neural changes may represent neural origins for tinnitus or consequences of tinnitus and its associations.