Studies were undertaken to compare and contrast the two-dimensional protein profiles of epithelial and stromal cells from hyperplastic human prostate to establish the protein composition of the two major cellular components of the prostate. Epithelial and stromal cells were isolated from human prostate obtained from patients undergoing open prostatectomy for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Proteins, isolated from the two cell populations and separated by two-dimensional (2D) electrophoresis, were analyzed by silver staining, fluorography of [35S]-methionine-labeled proteins, and immunoprotein blotting. Isolated prostatic epithelial cells, but not stromal cells, contained cytokeratin polypeptides 5, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19. Although vimentin could not be identified in silver stained 2D gels and fluorographs of cultured prostatic epithelial cells, a low level of immunoreactivity was noted following immunoblot analysis of epithelial cells proteins by the use of an anti-vimentin polyclonal. Vimentin was prominently expressed in cultured prostatic stromal cells and could be identified on silver stained 2D gels, fluorographs, and immunoblots of stroma-derived proteins. In addition, stromal marker proteins SM1, SM2, and SM3 were identified in 2D gels of stromal cells to distinguish them from epithelial cells. These studies demonstrate (1) the two-dimensional protein profile and cytokeratin polypeptide composition of cultured epithelial cells from hyperplastic human prostate and (2) the 2D protein profile of cultured prostatic stromal cells and identification of specific stromal marker proteins.