Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) is one of the most potent effector cytokines in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Previous studies strongly implicate the critical involvement of several TNF family members in human IBD. This review focuses on the recent studies of TNF family members in IBD development. In particular, we discuss the findings about LIGHT (homologous to lymphotoxins, inducible expression, competes with herpes simplex virus glycoprotein D for herpes viral entry mediator, a receptor expressed on T lymphocytes) in the pathogenesis of IBD, and the potential mechanisms by which LIGHT induces IBD. Such mechanisms may also apply to other TNF family members.