Tinnitus: Network path physiology-network pharmacology

Ana Belén Elgoyhen, Berthold Langguth, Sven Vanneste, Dirk de Ridder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Tinnitus, the phantom perception of sound, is a prevalent disorder. One in 10 adults has clinically significant subjective tinnitus, and for 1 in 100, tinnitus severely affects their quality of life. Despite the significant unmet clinical need for a safe and effective drug targeting tinnitus relief, there is currently not a single FDA-approved drug on the market. The search for drugs that target tinnitus is hampered by the lack of a deep knowledge of the underlying neural substrates of this pathology. Recent studies are increasingly demonstrating that, as described for other central nervous system disorders, tinnitus is a pathology of brain networks. The application of graph theoretical analysis to brain networks has recently provided new information concerning their topology, their robustness and their vulnerability to attacks. Moreover, the philosophy behind drug design and pharmacotherapy in central nervous system pathologies is changing from that of "magic bullets" that target individual chemoreceptors or "disease-causing genes" into that of "magic shotguns", "promiscuous" or "dirty drugs" that target "disease-causing networks", also known as network pharmacology. In the present work we provide some insight into how this knowledge could be applied to tinnitus pathophysiology and pharmacotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1
JournalFrontiers in Systems Neuroscience
Issue numberJANUARY 2012
StatePublished - Jan 11 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain networks
  • Graph analysis
  • Magic bullets
  • Network pharmacology
  • Phantom percept
  • Scale-free
  • Small-world
  • Tinnitus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Developmental Neuroscience


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