We have previously shown that prostatic stem cells are located in the proximal region of mouse prostatic ducts. Here, we show that this region responds differently to transforming growth factor (TGF)-β than the distal ductal region and that under physiological conditions androgens and TGF-β are crucial overall regulators of prostatic tissue homeostasis. This conclusion is supported by the observations showing that high levels of TGF-β signaling are present in the quiescent proximal region of ducts in an androgen-replete animal and that cells in this region overexpress Bcl-2, which protects them from apoptosis. Moreover, androgen ablation reverses the proximal-distal TGF-β signaling gradient, leading to an increase in TGF-β signaling in the unprotected distal region (low Bcl-2 expression). This reversal of TGF-β–mediated signaling accompanies apoptosis of cells in the distal region and gland involution after androgen withdrawal. A physiological TGF-β signaling gradient (high proximally and low distally) and its functional correlates are restored after androgen replenishment. In addition to highlighting the regulatory role of androgens and TGF-β, these findings may have important implications for the deregulation of the stem cell compartment in the etiology of proliferative prostatic diseases.