Introduction: How sex influences prefrontal cortexes (PFCs) synaptic development through adolescence remains unclear. Materials and Methods: In this study we describe sex-specific cellular and synaptic trajectories in the rat PFC from adolescence to adulthood. Results: The excitability of PFC layer 5 pyramidal neurons was lower in adult females compared with other developmental stages. The developmental course of endocannabinoid-mediated long-term depression (eCB-LTD) was sexually dimorphic, unlike long-term potentiation or mGluR3-LTD. eCB-LTD was expressed in juvenile females but appeared only at puberty in males. Endovanilloid TRPV1R or eCB receptors were engaged during LTD in a sequential and sexually dimorphic manner. Gene expression of the eCB/vanilloid systems was sequential and sex specific. LTD-incompetent juvenile males had elevated expression levels of the CB1R-interacting inhibitory protein cannabinoid receptor interacting protein 1a and of the 2-arachidonoylglycerol-degrading enzyme ABHD6. Pharmacological inhibition of ABHD6 or MAGL enabled LTD in young males, whereas inhibition of anandamide degradation was ineffective. Conclusions: These results reveal sex differences in the maturational trajectories of the rat PFC.
endocannabinoid; postnatal development; prefrontal cortex; sexual dimorphism.
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