Keynote Lecture

Prof. Dr. Marlies Knipper
Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Hearing Research Centre Tübingen,
Molecular Physiology of Hearing, University of Tübingen,
Elfriede Aulhorn-Str. 5, 72076 Tübingen, Germany

Specific synaptopathies may diversify brain responses and hearing disorders

Benedikt Hofmeier, Lukas Rüttiger, Stephan Wolpert, Ebrahim Saad Aldamer, Moritz Walter, Uwe Klose, Marlies Knipper

A deafferentation of auditory nerve fibers has been suggested to be involved in various hearing disorders, as is e.g. tinnitus, hyperacusis, or aging. Deafferentation of haircells can co-occur without significant alteration of hearing thresholds. An auditory deafferentation (synaptopathy) may drive differential central responsiveness, that can be detected in animal models and patient groups with non-invasive approaches (audiometry, evoked fMRI, r-fcMRI, auditory steady state responses etc.). We here aim to give insight in non-invasive comparative diagnostic approaches appropriate for animal and human studies. Comparative studies in animal models and human beings may improve our understanding about the coherence of central responsiveness to defined peripheral cochlear injuries. Auditory processing. malfunction can result from synaptopathies, efferent fiber realignments, or altered top-down stress-related influences, among other pathologies. Some of these fragile cochlear impairments may have the potential to alter the energization for recruitment of emotional-distress or temporofrontal attentional stress-regulating brain activities. These aspects may be regarded in the context of previous reports that relate hearing loss and cognitive changes.

Supported by by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG-Kni-316-4-1, SPP16-08 DFG