Little is known about the roles of androgens in the regulation of redox state in the prostate, a cellular process believed to profoundly influence normal and aberrant prostate functions. We demonstrate that castration induced discrete oxidative stress (OS) in the acinar epithelium of rat ventral prostate (VP), as evident from marked increases in 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxy-guanosine and 4-hydroxynonenal protein adducts in the regressing epithelium. Testosterone replacement partially reduced OS in VP epithelia of castrates, but the level remained higher than in intact rats. Quantification of steady-state mRNA levels of 14 genes involved in the anabolism and catabolism of reactive oxygen species (ROS) showed that castration resulted in dramatic increases of three ROS-generating NAD(P)H oxidases (Noxs) including Nox1, gp91(phox), and Nox4, significant reductions of key ROS-detoxifying enzymes (superoxide dismutase 2, glutathione peroxidase 1, thioredoxin, and peroxiredoxin 5), and unchanged levels of catalase, glutathione reductase, gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase, and glutathione synthetase. Testosterone replacement in castrated rats partially reduced expression of Noxs but restored expression of superoxide dismutase 2, glutathione peroxidase 1, thioredoxin, and peroxiredoxin 5 to complete normalcy and induced a compensatory increase in expression of catalase, glutathione reductase, gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase, and glutathione synthetase in the regenerating VP. Expression of superoxide dismutase 1, glutathione S-transferase-pi, and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase was unaffected by castration and testosterone replacement. These findings indicate androgen-deprivation induces OS in the rat VP through elevation of ROS anabolism and diminution of antioxidant detoxification. Androgen replacement partially reduces OS in rat VP to precastration levels. Expression of Noxs remained high amid a broad-based recovery of antioxidant defense mechanism(s). These data might have implications on the use of androgen blockade for prostate cancer prevention and androgen therapy for andropause treatment in elderly men.