Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the rectum and colon. Results from many studies in people and animals of intestinal inflammation suggest that ulcerative colitis results from environmental factors triggering a loss of tolerance for normal intestinal flora in genetically susceptible individuals. Although progress has been made in the overall management of the disease, no innovative treatment has been developed. By contrast with Crohn's disease, there are few clinical data on biological agents. Probiotics seem the most promising of several experimental and traditional agents that have been investigated in controlled clinical trials.