AN ANIMAL MODEL OF TINNITUS: A DECADE OF DEVELOPMENT

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Abstract

ABSTRACT

Although tinnitus affects approximately 9 million people in the United States, a cure remains elusive and the mechanisms of its origin are speculative. The crucial obstacle in tinnitus research has been the lack of an animal model. Over the last decade we have been creating such a model by combining a variety of methodologies, including a behavioral component, to allow for the detection of tinnitus perception. Initially, 2-deoxyglucose had been used to map changes in the metabolic activity after unilateral destruction of the cochlea. It has been found that the initial decrease of the metabolic rate in the auditory nuclei recovered to preoperative values, which could be attributable to the development of tinnitus. The spontaneous activity of single units recorded from the inferior colliculus before and after salicylate administration revealed an increase of discharges, which might reflect the presence of salicylate-induced tinnitus. Recent data have confirmed, and further elaborated this observation, including the discovery of abnormal, epileptic-like, neuronal activity. Finally, the authors have developed a behavioral model of tinnitus, tested it extensively, and used it to measure tinnitus pitch and loudness. The model is presently used for investigating the hypotheses for the mechanisms of tinnitus.

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