Continued delineation of the major factors that lead to intestinal inflammation will provide critical insights into many of the pathophysiologic events leading to tissue destruction in IBD. The exploration of exciting and important new areas, such as the role of adhesion molecules, proinflammatory cytokines, and the activation of lymphocytes and phagocytes, will contribute significantly to a better understanding of the mechanisms that sustain the intestinal inflammatory process. Determining the mechanisms of amplification and perpetuation of intestinal inflammation as well as learning more about the natural suppression of intestinal inflammation by the normal cellular and cytokine networks of the mucosal immune system will open exciting new therapeutic approaches. It is encouraging to see realistic and testable working models emerge from the combined efforts of many committed investigators who have been engaged in studying the role of the mucosal immune system in the pathophysiology of IBD. A great deal more remains to be learned in this rapidly advancing area, and we can look forward with confidence to continued advances in the study of IBD.