Inhibition of Experimental Tinnitus With High Frequency Stimulation of the Rat Medial Geniculate Body

Neuromodulation. 2019 Jun;22(4):416-424. doi: 10.1111/ner.12795. Epub 2018 Aug 13.


Background: Neuromodulation is a promising treatment modality for tinnitus, especially in chronic and severe cases. The auditory thalamus plays a key role in the pathophysiology of tinnitus, as it integrates and processes auditory and limbic information.

Objective: The effect of high frequency stimulation and low frequency stimulation of the medial geniculate bodies on tinnitus in a noise-induced tinnitus rat model is assessed.

Materials and methods: Presence of tinnitus was verified using the gap-induced prepulse inhibition of the acoustic startle response paradigm. Hearing thresholds were determined before and after noise trauma with auditory brainstem responses. Anxiety-related side-effects were evaluated in the elevated zero maze and open field.

Results: Results show tinnitus development after noise exposure and preserved hearing thresholds of the ear that was protected from noise trauma. We found that high frequency stimulation of the medial geniculate bodies suppressed tinnitus. This effect maintained directly after stimulation when the stimulator was turned off. Low frequency stimulation did not have any effects on the gap:no-gap ratio of the acoustic startle response.

Conclusion: High frequency stimulation of the MGB has a direct and residual suppressing effect on tinnitus in this animal model. Low frequency stimulation of the MGB did not inhibit tinnitus.

Keywords: Deep brain stimulation; medial geniculate body; neuromodulation; preclinical; tinnitus.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation / adverse effects*
  • Animals
  • Deep Brain Stimulation / methods*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / physiology
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory, Brain Stem / physiology
  • Geniculate Bodies / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Tinnitus / physiopathology*
  • Tinnitus / prevention & control*