Suppression and facilitation of auditory neurons through coordinated acoustic and midbrain stimulation: Investigating a deep brain stimulator for tinnitus

Sarah J. Offutt, Kellie J. Ryan, Alexander E. Konop, Hubert H. Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective. The inferior colliculus (IC) is the primary processing center of auditory information in the midbrain and is one site of tinnitus-related activity. One potential option for suppressing the tinnitus percept is through deep brain stimulation via the auditory midbrain implant (AMI), which is designed for hearing restoration and is already being implanted in deaf patients who also have tinnitus. However, to assess the feasibility of AMI stimulation for tinnitus treatment we first need to characterize the functional connectivity within the IC. Previous studies have suggested modulatory projections from the dorsal cortex of the IC (ICD) to the central nucleus of the IC (ICC), though the functional properties of these projections need to be determined.

Approach. In this study, we investigated the effects of electrical stimulation of the ICD on acoustic-driven activity within the ICC in ketamine-anesthetized guinea pigs.

Main Results. We observed ICD stimulation induces both suppressive and facilitatory changes across ICC that can occur immediately during stimulation and remain after stimulation. Additionally, ICD stimulation paired with broadband noise stimulation at a specific delay can induce greater suppressive than facilitatory effects, especially when stimulating in more rostral and medial ICD locations.

Significance. These findings demonstrate that ICD stimulation can induce specific types of plastic changes in ICC activity, which may be relevant for treating tinnitus. By using the AMI with electrode sites positioned with the ICD and the ICC, the modulatory effects of ICD stimulation can be tested directly in tinnitus patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number066001
JournalJournal of neural engineering
Volume11
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

Keywords

  • deep brain stimulation
  • hyperacusis
  • inferior colliculus
  • neuromodulation
  • plasticity
  • tinnitus

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