, Volume 54, Issue 8, pp 883–892 | Cite as

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

  • Faten M. Aldhafeeri
  • Ian Mackenzie
  • Tony Kay
  • Jamaan Alghamdi
  • Vanessa Sluming
Functional Neuroradiology



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.


Tinnitus Cortical thickness DTI MRI Brain 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Faten M. Aldhafeeri
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ian Mackenzie
    • 3
  • Tony Kay
    • 3
  • Jamaan Alghamdi
    • 1
    • 4
  • Vanessa Sluming
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Medical Imaging, School of Health SciencesThe University of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK
  2. 2.Ministry of Health, Radiology DepartmentKing Khalid General HospitalHafral-batinKingdom of Saudi Arabia
  3. 3.Aintree University Hospitals NHS Foundation TrustLiverpoolUK
  4. 4.Physics Department, Faculty of SciencesKing Abdul Aziz UniversityJeddahKingdom of Saudi Arabia
  5. 5.Magnetic Resonance and Image Analysis Research CentreLiverpoolUK

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