Previous studies indicate that the dorsal cochlear nucleus (DCN) may serve as a generator and/or modulator of noise-induced tinnitus. This prompted an interest to investigate the modulatory role of the DCN in tinnitus suppression. In this study, we chronically implanted the DCN of rats with behavioral evidence of intense tone-induced tinnitus. Behavioral evidence of tinnitus was measured using a gap detection acoustic startle reflex paradigm. Our results demonstrated that electrical stimulation of the DCN suppressed behavioral evidence of tinnitus, especially at high frequencies. The data suggest that the DCN may be used as a target to suppress tinnitus through a bottom-up neuromodulation approach. The underlying mechanism of DCN-stimulation-induced tinnitus suppression was discussed by comparing it with other stimulation modalities.
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