Different procedures of enzymatic digestion of rat prostatic tissue and unique sets of mitogenic factors made it possible to culture practically pure populations of epithelial and stromal cells without previous separation of the two types of cells. Keratin-positive epithelial cells dissociated by trypsin and collagenase from adult rat ventral prostate proliferated in medium WAJC 404 supplemented with epidermal growth factor, insulin, cholera toxin, and bovine pituitary extract. Proliferation of epithelial cells was completely inhibited by dexamethasone as low as 30 nM. On the other hand, fibroblast-like stromal cells released by trypsin digestion required a plastic substratum coated with calf serum or fibronectin, and proliferated in Eagle's minimum essential medium supplemented with cholera toxin, bovine pituitary extract, dexamethasone, and bovine serum albumin. Epidermal growth factor and insulin had negligible effect on proliferation of stromal cells. Physiological concentrations of dihydrotestosterone and estradiol showed no effect on proliferation of both types of cells.