Emerging evidence points to the role of the endocannabinoid system in long-term stress-induced neural remodeling with studies on stress-induced endocannabinoid dysregulation focusing on cerebral changes that are temporally proximal to stressors. Little is known about temporally distal and sex-specific effects, especially in cerebellum, which is vulnerable to early developmental stress and is dense with cannabinoid receptors. Following limited bedding at postnatal days 2–9, adult (postnatal day 70) cerebellar and hippocampal endocannabinoids, related lipids, and mRNA were assessed, and behavioral performance evaluated. Regional and sex-specific effects were present at baseline and following early-life stress. Limited bedding impaired peripherally-measured basal corticosterone in adult males only. In the CNS, early-life stress (1) decreased 2-arachidonoyl glycerol and arachidonic acid in the cerebellar interpositus nucleus in males only; (2) decreased 2-arachidonoyl glycerol in females only in cerebellar Crus I; and (3) increased dorsal hippocampus prostaglandins in males only. Cerebellar interpositus transcriptomics revealed substantial sex effects, with minimal stress effects. Stress did impair novel object recognition in both sexes and social preference in females. Accordingly, the cerebellar endocannabinoid system exhibits robust sex-specific differences, malleable through early-life stress, suggesting the role of endocannabinoids and stress to sexual differentiation of the brain and cerebellar-related dysfunctions.
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