Investig Magn Reson Imaging.  2019 Mar;23(1):55-64. 10.13104/imri.2019.23.1.55.

Changes in the Laterality of Functional Connectivity Associated with Tinnitus: Resting-State fMRI Study

  • 1Department of Radiology, Kyung Hee University Hospital at Gangdong, School of Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Kyung Hee University Hospital at Gangdong, School of Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea.


One of the suggested potential mechanisms of tinnitus is an alteration in perception in the neural auditory pathway. The aim of this study was to investigate the difference in laterality in functional connectivity between tinnitus patients and healthy controls using resting state functional MRI (rs-fMRI).
Thirty-eight chronic tinnitus subjects and 45 age-matched healthy controls were enrolled in this study. Connectivity was investigated using independent component analysis, and the laterality index map was calculated based on auditory (AN) and dorsal attention (DAN), default mode (DMN), sensorimotor, salience (SalN), and visual networks (VNs). The laterality index (LI) of tinnitus subjects was compared with that of normal controls using region-of-interest (ROI) and voxel-based methods and a two-sample unpaired t-test. Pearson correlation was conducted to assess the associations between the LI in each network and clinical variables.
The AN and VN showed significant differences in LI between the two groups in ROI analysis (P < 0.05), and the tinnitus group had clusters with significantly decreased laterality of AN, SalN, and VN in voxel-based comparisons. The AN was positively correlated with tinnitus distress (tinnitus handicap inventory), and the SalN was negatively correlated with symptom duration (P < 0.05).
The results of this study suggest that various functional networks related to psychological distress can be modified by tinnitus, and that this interrelation can present differently on the right and left sides, according to the dominance of the network.


Tinnitus; Functional connectivity; Laterality; Resting state functional MRI
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