Asphyctic brain injury is a major cause of neuronal inflammation in the perinatal period. Fetal asphyctic preconditioning has been shown to modulate the cerebral inflammatory cytokine response, hereby protecting the brain against asphyctic injury at birth. This study was designated to examine the effects of perinatal asphyxia and fetal asphyctic preconditioning on the inflammatory cytokine response in the cerebellum. Fetal asphyxia was induced at embryonic day 17 by clamping the uterine vasculature for 30 min. At term birth, global perinatal asphyxia was induced by placing the uterine horns in saline for 19 min. Pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine expression were assessed by real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry in cerebella of newborn rats. We found that tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin-10 mRNA were increased 12 h after fetal asphyxia, while the inflammatory cytokine response was decreased 96 h postfetal asphyxia. When applied as preconditioning stimulus, fetal asphyxia attenuates the cerebellar cytokine response. These results indicate that sublethal fetal asphyxia may protect the cerebellum from perinatal asphyxia-induced damage via inhibition of inflammation.