Aberrant thalamocortical coherence in an animal model of tinnitus

Paulo Vianney-Rodrigues, Benjamin D. Auerbach, Richard Salvi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Electrophysiological and imaging studies from humans suggest that the phantom sound of tinnitus is associated with abnormal thalamocortical neural oscillations (dysrhythmia) and enhanced gamma band activity in the auditory cortex. However, these models have seldom been tested in animal models where it is possible to simultaneously assess the neural oscillatory activity within and between the thalamus and auditory cortex. To explore this issue, we used multichannel electrodes to examine the oscillatory behavior of local field potentials recorded in the rat medial geniculate body (MBG) and primary auditory cortex (A1) before and after administering a dose of sodium salicylate (SS) that reliably induces tinnitus. In the MGB, SS reduced theta, alpha, and beta oscillations and decreased coherence (synchrony) between electrode pairs in theta, alpha, and beta bands but increased coherence in the gamma band. Within A1, SS significantly increased gamma oscillations, decreased theta power, and decreased coherence between electrode pairs in theta and alpha bands but increased coherence in the gamma band. When coherence was measured between one electrode in the MGB and another in A1, SS decreased coherence in beta, alpha, and theta bands but increased coherence in the gamma band. SS also increased cross-frequency coupling between the phase of theta oscillations in the MGB and amplitude of gamma oscillations in A1. Altogether, our results suggest that SS treatment fundamentally alters the manner in which thalamocortical circuits communicate, leading to excessive cortical gamma power and synchronization, neurophysiological changes implicated in tinnitus. Our data provide support for elements of both the thalamocortical dysrhythmia (TD) and synchronization by loss of inhibition (SLIM) models of tinnitus, demonstrating that increased cortical gamma band activity is associated with both enhanced theta-gamma coupling as well as decreases alpha power/coherence between the MGB and A1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)893-907
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Alpha band
  • Auditory cortex
  • Coherence
  • Gamma band
  • Medial geniculate body
  • Thalamocortical dysrhythmia
  • Tinnitus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Physiology


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