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PLoS One. 2016 Jun 17;11(6):e0157574. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0157574. eCollection 2016.

Therapeutic Value of Ginkgo biloba Extract EGb 761® in an Animal Model (Meriones unguiculatus) for Noise Trauma Induced Hearing Loss and Tinnitus.

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Experimental Otolaryngology, Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Waldstrasse 1, 91054, Erlangen, Germany.


Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) is a common disease in modern societies and may lead to maladaptations within the auditory system that finally result in subjective tinnitus. Available therapies may only alleviate the symptoms rather than restore normal hearing. In a previous study we demonstrated that the prophylactic application of Ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761® significantly reduces NIHL and tinnitus development in our Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus) animal model. Here, we tested whether the application of EGb 761® has beneficial effects after the formation of permanent NIHL and tinnitus. To this end we monitored the therapeutic effects of EGb 761® on noise trauma-induced changes in signal processing within the auditory system of our animal model by behavioral (acoustic startle response, ASR) and electrophysiological approaches (auditory brainstem responses, ABR). We found that-in contrast to vehicle-three weeks of daily oral EGb 761® treatment (100 mg/kg body weight) led to a restoration of hearing thresholds back to pre-trauma conditions. In addition, all 9 animals that displayed behavioral signs of subjective tinnitus showed improvement, with 7 of them showing complete relief of tinnitus symptoms during the time of EGb 761® treatment. After discontinuation of EGb 761® treatment, tinnitus related behavior reappeared in all but one of these animals while auditory thresholds remained restored. A detailed analysis of ABR waves revealed that EGb 761® treatment did not simply change auditory processing back to pre-trauma conditions, but led to subtle changes of ABR wave amplitude and latency at different levels of the auditory pathway, with an overall increase of response to low stimulus intensities and a decrease at high intensities. The functional relevance of these changes may be the observed improvement of hearing thresholds while at the same time suppression of responses to high stimulus intensities may point to a global inhibitory mechanism that counteracts tinnitus.

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