Research scientists at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine have been awarded a 3-year $942,493 federal grant to study a specific brain chemical and its receptor that could provide a new drug target for the treatment of tinnitus.

The award is from the Office of Naval Research. Donald M. Caspary, PhD, professor of pharmacology and an SIUC distinguished scholar, is the principal investigator.

Caspary and colleagues will investigate a brain chemical (GABA) and a receptor protein (GABA receptor) in the auditory thalamus of the brain. The new GABA receptor subtype could potentially serve as a new target for tinnitus drug therapy.

A set of studies will compare control animal models with those showing behavioral evidence of tinnitus by examining tinnitus-related changes in the inhibitory systems of the auditory thalamus. The ability of certain drugs to block tinnitus will be tested to identify a clinically new drug to alleviate tinnitus.

SOURCE: Southern Illinois University School of Medicine