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Brain Structure and Function

, Volume 218, Issue 4, pp 1061–1070 | Cite as

Auditory cortex is implicated in tinnitus distress: a voxel-based morphometry study

  • Martin Schecklmann
  • Astrid Lehner
  • Timm B. Poeppl
  • Peter M. Kreuzer
  • Rainer Rupprecht
  • Julia Rackl
  • Julia Burger
  • Elmar Frank
  • Göran Hajak
  • Berthold Langguth
  • Michael Landgrebe
Original Article

Abstract

Neuroimaging studies of tinnitus suggest the involvement of wide-spread neural networks for perceptual, attentional, memory, and emotional processes encompassing auditory, frontal, parietal, and limbic areas. Despite sparse findings for tinnitus duration and laterality, tinnitus distress has been shown to be related to changes in non-auditory cortical areas. The aim of this study was to correlate tinnitus characteristics with grey matter volume in two large samples of tinnitus patients. High-resolution brain images were obtained using a 1.5 T magnetic resonance imaging scanner and analysed by means of voxel-based morphometry. In sample one (n = 257), tinnitus distress correlated negatively with grey matter volume in bilateral auditory areas including the Heschl’s gyrus and insula, that is, the higher the tinnitus distress the lower the grey matter volume. The effects of this correlation were small, but stable after correction for potential confounders such as age, gender, and audiometric parameters. This negative correlation was replicated in a second independent sample (n = 78). Our results support the notion that the role of the auditory cortex in tinnitus is not restricted to perceptual aspects. The distress observed was dependent on grey matter alterations in the auditory cortex, which could reflect reverberations between perceptual and distress networks.

Keywords

Ringing in the ears Grey matter volume Structural imaging Auditory cortex Distress Duration Laterality 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the Tinnitus Research Initiative. None of the authors has declared a conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Schecklmann
    • 1
    • 2
  • Astrid Lehner
    • 1
    • 2
  • Timm B. Poeppl
    • 1
    • 2
  • Peter M. Kreuzer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rainer Rupprecht
    • 1
  • Julia Rackl
    • 1
  • Julia Burger
    • 1
    • 2
  • Elmar Frank
    • 1
    • 2
  • Göran Hajak
    • 3
  • Berthold Langguth
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael Landgrebe
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and PsychotherapyUniversity of RegensburgRegensburgGermany
  2. 2.Interdisciplinary Tinnitus ClinicUniversity of RegensburgRegensburgGermany
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry, Psychosomatic Medicine and PsychotherapySocial Foundation BambergBambergGermany

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