Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are characterized by chronic intestinal inflammation. Intestinal bacteria initiate the activation of intestinal inflammatory processes, which are mediated by proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines. In inflammatory bowel disease, intestinal inflammation is not downregulated, in part due to defective or absent inhibitory processes. Studies to date have demonstrated that IL-8, MCP-1, and ENA-78 are highly expressed in the intestinal mucosa in areas of active Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Neutrophils and macrophages in the inflamed intestine synthesize and secrete large amounts of chemokines in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Increased chemokine expression has also been observed in epithelial cells, endothelial cells, and smooth muscle cells. Future trials of specific agents capable of inhibiting chemokine synthesis and secretion or blocking chemokine-chemokine receptor interaction will be important to study in patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.