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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 475382, 11 pages
Research Article

Altered Intra- and Interregional Synchronization in Resting-State Cerebral Networks Associated with Chronic Tinnitus

1Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Molecular and Functional Imaging, Department of Radiology, Zhongda Hospital, Medical School, Southeast University, Nanjing 210009, China
2Center for Hearing and Deafness, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14214, USA
3Department of Physiology, Southeast University, Nanjing 210009, China
4Medical School, Southeast University, Nanjing 210009, China
5Center for Functional Neuroimaging, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
6Department of Otolaryngology, Zhongda Hospital, Medical School, Southeast University, Nanjing 210009, China
7School of Human Communication Disorders, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada B3J 1Y6

Received 22 October 2014; Accepted 20 December 2014

Academic Editor: Aage R. Møller

Copyright © 2015 Yu-Chen Chen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. Subjective tinnitus is hypothesized to arise from aberrant neural activity; however, its neural bases are poorly understood. To identify aberrant neural networks involved in chronic tinnitus, we compared the resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) patterns of tinnitus patients and healthy controls. Materials and Methods. Resting-state fMRI measurements were obtained from a group of chronic tinnitus patients () with normal hearing and well-matched healthy controls (). Regional homogeneity (ReHo) analysis and functional connectivity analysis were used to identify abnormal brain activity; these abnormalities were compared to tinnitus distress. Results. Relative to healthy controls, tinnitus patients had significant greater ReHo values in several brain regions including the bilateral anterior insula (AI), left inferior frontal gyrus, and right supramarginal gyrus. Furthermore, the left AI showed enhanced functional connectivity with the left middle frontal gyrus (MFG), while the right AI had enhanced functional connectivity with the right MFG; these measures were positively correlated with Tinnitus Handicap Questionnaires (, and , , resp.). Conclusions. Chronic tinnitus patients showed abnormal intra- and interregional synchronization in several resting-state cerebral networks; these abnormalities were correlated with clinical tinnitus distress. These results suggest that tinnitus distress is exacerbated by attention networks that focus on internally generated phantom sounds.