Adolescence represents a vulnerable period for the psychiatric consequences of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9
-THC) exposure, however, the molecular underpinnings of this vulnerability remain to be established. Histone modifications are emerging as important epigenetic mechanisms involved in the etiopathogenesis of psychiatric diseases, thus, we investigated the impact of chronic Δ9
-THC exposure on histone modifications in different brain areas of female rats. We checked histone modifications associated to both transcriptional repression (H3K9 di- and tri-methylation, H3K27 tri-methylation) and activation (H3K9 and H3K14 acetylation) after adolescent and adult chronic Δ9
-THC exposure in the hippocampus, nucleus accumbens, and amygdala. Chronic exposure to increasing doses of Δ9
-THC for 11 days affected histone modifications in a region- and age-specific manner. The primary effect in the adolescent brain was represented by changes leading to transcriptional repression, whereas the one observed after adult treatment led to transcriptional activation. Moreover, only in the adolescent brain, the primary effect was followed by a homeostatic response to counterbalance the Δ9
-THC-induced repressive effect, except in the amygdala.
The presence of a more complex response in the adolescent brain may be part of the mechanisms that make the adolescent brain vulnerable to Δ9
-THC adverse effects.
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