The presence of alkaline phosphatase (EC 126.96.36.199) activity has been demonstrated in nuclei of rat ventral prostate. This enzyme activity remained after washing of isolated nuclei with 0.5% Triton X-100; an acid phosphatase initially present with the nuclear fraction was removed by this treatment. The nuclear alkaline phosphatase, examined by utilizing p-nitrophenyl phosphate as substrate, had a pH optimum of 9.5-10.3, and a broad substrate specificity: p-nitrophenyl phosphate > phosphothreonine > β-glycerophosphate > phosphoserine. The nuclear phosphatase was sensitive to denaturation by heat or urea treatments and was also inhibited by Pi, l-phenylalanine, homoarginine, dithiothreitol, and EDTA. The EDTA-inhibited enzyme was maximally reactivated by Zn2+, although Mg2+, or Ca2+ were also effective at somewhat higher concentrations. Orchiectomy of adult rats resulted in an increase in the nuclear alkaline phosphatase activity (2-3-fold at 24 or 48 h postorchiectomy). A decline in the protein: DNA ratio also occurred following orchiectomy, but the increase in phosphatase specific activity was evident whether expressed per unit of protein or per unit of DNA. Testosterone replacement following orchiectomy abolished the increase in nuclear phosphatase activity. The results suggest that the prostatic nuclear alkaline phosphatase may be involved in events related to inactivation of the prostate nucleus following androgen deprivation.