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Acta Otolaryngol Suppl. 2006 Dec;(556):50-3.

Amygdalohippocampal involvement in tinnitus and auditory memory.

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  • 1Department of Neurosurgey, University Hospital Antwerp, Belgium.



The preliminary results suggest that in chronic unilateral tinnitus the contralateral amygdalohippocampal complex does seem to be involved in tinnitus perception of pure tones.


Functional neuroimaging studies have revealed that the hippocampus and amygdala are involved in tinnitus perception. The amygdala and hippocampus are supplied by the anterior choroidal artery. Selective amobarbital injections in the anterior choroidal artery result in a non-functional amygdalohippocampal area for 10 min. The aim of this study was to assess the influence of this procedure on tinnitus perception.


Amobarbital (80 mg in total) was injected selectively in two sessions in the left and right anterior choroidal artery in six male patients with tinnitus: four with unilateral tinnitus, two with bilateral tinnitus. Of the patients with unilateral tinnitus, three had right-sided tinnitus and one had left-sided tinnitus. The average age was 57.3 years (range 43-69). Average tinnitus duration was 5.3 years (range 1-10). The differences in visual analogue scale (VAS) scores before and after the amytal tests were analysed.


Amytal injection ipsilateral to the side where the tinnitus was perceived resulted in a maximum of 30% tinnitus suppression, whereas amytal injection contralateral to the tinnitus side yielded a 60-70% tinnitus suppression in three patients with unilateral chronic tinnitus (>4 years). Only pure tone tinnitus was suppressed, white noise was not. Two patients with bilateral tinnitus had no suppression, irrespective of the tinnitus type. A third patient without clinical tinnitus suppression had tinnitus of more recent origin (1.5 years).

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